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Charged in jail escape accused killer tells judge he is "an upstanding gentleman"

Donnovan Lewis describes himself as "upstanding gentleman" during escape arraignment. (WWMT/File)

Accused killer Donnovan Lewis told the court Friday he is an upstanding gentleman as he was charged with felony escape after breaking out the Kalamazoo County Jail on Wednesday.

Lewis spoke at length about his ties to the community and work with kids. He told the judge all of this when he was given the opportunity to speak about bond on an escape case, which is really a moot point since he's being held without bond on a murder charge.

Lewis said, “I'm an upstanding gentleman in the community.”

He appeared in court by video wearing an anti-suicide gown, which is made from a single piece of tear-resistant material, from the Kalamazoo County Jail. He was charged with felony escape.

Lewis said, “I played basketball at Kalamazoo Valley Community College where I was the captain of the team and was the leading scorer of the team.”

A former basketball player at Kalamazoo Valley Community College Lewis is just athletic enough to make it over the jail fences, according to Kalamazoo County Undersheriff James VanDyken.

VanDyken said, “You could get over that fence probably 30 seconds.”

Out in the jail yard with a couple other inmates and two guards, investigators say Lewis scaled two 15-foot fences, topped with barbed and razor wire to escape the Kalamazoo County Jail Wednesday morning.

VanDyken said Lewis posed an extreme danger to the community for the half hour he was on the run.

Newschannel 3 first notified the public of the potential threat. The emergency alert system, designed to alert the community of dangerous situations, never went out.

The sheriff's office says that alert was about to go out when Lewis was caught 33 minutes after he escaped.

Charged with murder in June, Lewis is accused of brutally killing his ex-girlfriend Western Michigan University student Aniya Mack.

Lewis made his daring, half-hour long escape less than a week before he was supposed to stand trial on a murder charge. The trial was set to being Tuesday, Sept. 25, but was delayed. The court is still waiting on competency exam results.

The defense attorney for Lewis in the murder case filed a motion last month to determine if Lewis is fit to stand trial.

The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office says the it seems the attorney representing Lewis is setting up an insanity defense.

Lewis said, “I've never had a problem with authority.”

He said the Kalamazoo County community is near and dear to his heart and described himself as an upstanding gentleman who mentored children at the YMCA and schools,

Lewis said, “I helped a lot of the youth there I coached basketball at Portage Northern Middle School for both girls’ and boys’ basketball for two years.”

A spokesperson for Portage Public Schools says there is no record of Lewis being a district employee, however, Lewis may have been brought by coaches to assist with basketball teams.

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