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New Details In Case Of Man Charged With Murdering Girlfriend And Living With Body For Seven Months

Officials say Matthew Lewinski strangled Jerri Winters and kept her in the basement of his father's Michigan condo. 

By Jax Miller
A police handout of Matthew Lewinski

Gruesome new details surrounding a 2020 murder were revealed at a preliminary hearing for a Michigan man accused of killing his girlfriend and living with the corpse for months.

Matthew Lewinski, 38, was charged with the first-degree premeditated murder, mutilation, and concealment of a corpse in the death of his live-in girlfriend, Jerri Winters, according to Fox Detroit affiliate WJBK. Authorities allege Lewinski strangled Winters in December 2020 before dragging her body into the basement of their Clinton Township condo, where he kept it for the next seven months.

Officials said “large portions of her skin from her back” had also been removed, according to the Macomb Daily.

On Thursday, Lewinski’s estranged sister, Debra Federico, testified that she was the legal guardian of their father, who owned the since-foreclosed Crosswinds Condo her brother had been living in. Per Federico’s testimony, the condo association called her on July 27, 2021, to report that the lights had been left on. At the time, Lewinski – with whom Federico had a falling out – was at the hospital, prompting Federico to go check on the home and collect various items that belonged to the family.

At that point, it had been about a year since Federico was last at the residence, according to WJBK. She waited outside while her husband, son, and family friend entered the residence, eventually finding Winters’ body.

“I saw something on the floor,” Federico’s husband, Joseph, testified on Thursday. “Didn’t know what it was.”

Clinton Township Police Det. Michael Chirco also took the stand, testifying that Winters was naked and face-down in the doorway with her arms spread and head to the side. He stated investigators also found a knife, blood splatter, rubber gloves, and bottles of bleach.

Neighbors later claimed they smelled an odor coming from the home in the weeks leading up to the grisly discovery but chalked it up to it being a dead animal, according to the Macomb Daily.

“A guy said, ‘Maybe he needs to clean up his house,’” one neighbor recalled. “But I said, ‘That is not cleaning house, that is something dead.’”

Investigators testified that Lewinski was admitted to the hospital one day before Winters’ body was discovered after he was found wandering around the complex in his underwear, according to WJBK. Lewinski agreed to speak with detectives at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, explaining that he and Winters began a romantic relationship back in April 2020. For reasons that were not disclosed, Winters moved out of the apartment in November 2020 but came back in December, shortly before the death.

During the weeks of Winters’ absence, Lewinski allegedly told neighbors she wasn’t welcome back, claiming Winters was abusive, according to the Macomb Daily.

“If the b---h comes back, I won’t let her in,” Lewinski allegedly told neighbors.

Several locals heard the pair arguing during the course of their relationship, with some claiming they believed Winters struggled with alcohol abuse.

Lewinski allegedly confessed in the taped interviews with detectives that he strangled Winters for approximately five minutes until she stopped moving, though a motive for the murder was not clear.

“It’s a very gruesome case,” Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Sian Hengeveld said in 2021, per the Macomb Daily.

According to WJBK, Lewinski underwent several mental health evaluations and was ultimately deemed fit to stand trial.

Lewinski is scheduled for another hearing on June 2 after District Court Judge Sebastian Lucido said he wanted to review Lewinski’s interview with detectives in its entirety. The defendant is currently at the Macomb County Jail, where he remains without bond.