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Michigan man given life without parole for deadly shooting as a teenager receives lighter sentence

A Michigan man sentenced to life in prison without parole as a 17-year-old was resentenced Wednesday to reflect a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against issuing life sentences to most juvenile offenders.

Odies Murray, now 33, was convicted in 2008 of murder, assault with intent to commit murder and two counts of felony firearms, records from the Michigan Department of Corrections show. 

The charges stem from an August 2007 incident in Kalamazoo where he shot Tyres Sykes, 19, in the jaw and Walter Revera, 31, in the neck and back after a fight over a slushie drink and a series of “other scuffles.” Sykes died two months after the shooting at a hospital and Revera remained in a vegetative state until his December 2010 death at a nursing home, local news outlets reported.

On Wednesday, Murray was resentenced to 40 to 60 years, according to Chief Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Williams. He will receive credit for the 14 years served so far.

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Murray will become eligible for parole in 2048 after he has served 40 years, the Associated Press reported. The 19- to 40-year sentence he received for assault with intent to commit murder did not change and will be served concurrently with the new sentence.

The 2012 SCOTUS ruling that required Murray be resentenced states that mandatory life sentences for most juveniles “constituted cruel and unusual punishment” because of the developmental differences in the brain and should only be used for the “rare” young offender incapable of reform.

Kalamazoo County Assistance Prosecutor Ken Barnard argued Murray has not done anything in prison to show he is rehabilitating, adding that a new case is pending against him in Ionia County for allegedly assaulting prison staff, M Live reported.

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During resentencing, Murray said he takes full responsibility for his actions and said he “took two lives for basically nothing,” the Michigan outlet reported. He also apologized to the families of the victims.

“I did a terrible thing, though,” Murray said. “Like, there’s nothing I can do to change. One thing I can do to try to grow from the situation. (There’s) nothing I can do to change it.”

Kalamazoo County Circuit Chief Judge Gary Giguere Jr., who presided over Murray’s initial trial, delivered the new sentence. According to M Live, Giguere also said Murray’s actions in prison show he has not changed, and he doubts will become less of a danger as he continues to age.

Murray is housed in Level IV security at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, according to MDOC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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