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Michigan Supreme Court agrees convicted killer too young – by 1 hour – for life without parole

Michigan Dept of Corrections

A convicted killer will get a chance at a new sentence.   

In this case, one hour makes a big difference.

Deandre Woolfolk was about an hour shy of his 18th birthday when he took part in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl.

Woolfolk and two other men were convicted of murder in the case.

Woolfolk was sentenced to life without parole, but he appealed, citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court ruled automatically sentencing someone under 18 years old to life without parole amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. 

This week, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed with a lower court and ordered Woolfolk be resentenced:

“A defendant is a juvenile for the purposes of Miller v Alabama when he or she is under the age of 18 as determined by his or her anniversary of birth. By this calculation, defendant remained under the age of 18 at the time he committed the instant homicide offense and is therefore entitled to be treated in accordance with the rule in Miller.”

Ed. note: This story has been updated to reflect that Woolfolk will get a new sentencing hearing, not necessarily a different sentence.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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