A 17-year-old boy will be spending 28 years in prison for a crime he allegedly committed with another suspect.
The sentence, as well as the dismissal of one count of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree murder, was part of a plea deal. In this case, and in many others, plea bargains can be beneficial to a suspect facing a long sentence. More importantly, plea bargains give defendants the ability to bypass a jury that may be unlikely to believe their innocence or the actions they took to mitigate the damage caused by a criminal action. Ultimately, however, choosing to accept a plea deal is something only a defendant can do.
According to police reports, the 17-year-old and his friend shot five rounds at a house that ended up killing a 5-year-old boy who was sleeping on a couch in June. It is unknown which teenager actually killed the child or where the guns came from, however, so the teenager may have entered a guilty plea but may not have been the one who fired the fatal shot.
During the court proceedings, the boy uttered an apology before the judge and the victim’s family. He also said he never intended to kill a child. Following the sentence, family members spoke out. Many claimed the sentence of 28 years was not enough and that the boy’s apology was not sincere. While the boy will spending nearly double his current age in prison, the 5 year old’s family members would like to see him spend much longer behind bars.
The suspect’s attorney said the apology was sincere.
Source: Pioneer Press, “Minneapolis: Teen gets 28 years in killing of sleeping 5-year-old boy,” David Hanners, Feb. 5, 2013
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