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Teens avoid hard prison time for murder

Two Kansas youths narrowly escaped confinement in adult penitentiaries during a sentencing hearing related to a Jan. 29 murder. Both will be sent to a local juvenile detention center for their role in the death of a Wichita man, who died during an apparent home invasion. The teens, both 16 at the time of the event, both pleaded guilty to the charges they faced. One was officially charged with second-degree murder, while the other was accused of interfering with law enforcement activities after the death had occurred. A third defendant is still awaiting sentencing.

Authorities report the young men shot the victim multiple times in his abdomen while he was sitting in the living room of his home. The individual who pleaded guilty to murder was sentenced to the maximum allowable term. He will be committed to the state youth offenders' center until he reaches the age of 23 1/2 , at which time he will be subject to a six-month conditional release program. If he violates the terms of that release, he could be sent to actual prison for up to 13 years.

Attorneys in the case recommended probation for the second offender, but the judge has decided to send that boy to a youth offender center for an as-yet unspecified amount of time. The young man was sentenced to time in the detention center because he has been seen in the company of known gang members throughout the town, according to gang-related police squads.

The mother of the defendant who was charged with murder showed her remorse by speaking to the victim's family in court. The victim's twin sister also gave a heart-wrenching statement at the proceeding.

In this case, the youths escaped imprisonment in an adult facility. Instead, they will be sent to a youth-oriented facility with more options for education, treatment and rehabilitation for their actions. This is a fair sentence for the young men, who should not spend the rest of their lives paying for youthful indiscretion.

Source:, "Judge sentences two juveniles in shooting death of Wichita man" Hurst Laviana, Sep. 19, 2013

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