Berrien County man charged with murdering wife

John Benton Lewis
An August 2017 mug shot of John Benton Lewis. (Berrien County Sheriff's Office)

NILES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of shooting and killing his wife in Berrien County is now charged with first-degree murder.

Investigators said 49-year-old John Benton Lewis was arraigned Wednesday on the murder charge, which carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Authorities said officers went to the couple’s home in the 1400 block of Lawndale Avenue in Niles Township just before 6 p.m. Sunday. When deputies arrived, they found 55-year-old Carla Jean Lewis, who been shot multiple times. She died at the scene.

In a release, Berrien County Prosecuting Attorney Michael J. Sepic said an autopsy revealed Carla Lewis had suffered five gunshot wounds, including a fatal shot to the head.

John Lewis originally reported the incident to authorities as a home invasion, telling dispatchers that men entered their home and shot his wife in the basement, authorities said. However, detectives said forensic evidence at the scene, the autopsy and witness interviews led to the first-degree murder charge against John Lewis.

During the investigation, authorities also discovered John Lewis had violated the Medical Marijuana Act. He was formally charged with felony manufacturing of marijuana Tuesday.

A judge Wednesday set John Lewis’ bond at $1 million with GPS monitoring. His next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23.