GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man who was sentenced to life in prison as a teenager on charges of robbery, abduction and murder has the right to be resentenced, a judge ruled.
Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock on Thursday ruled that Chad Maleski, 36, is eligible to be resentenced under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders to be unconstitutional.
“Life in prison without parole is a disproportionate sentence for all but the rarest of juvenile homicide offenders,” Trusock said.
Maleski was 17 when he was convicted of kidnapping, carjacking, unarmed robbery and murder for being one of four teens who attacked 66-year-old Willie Jones in 2000.
Trusock said Maleski wasn’t the leader of the group, cooperated with police and led investigators to the body.
Maleski is in a state prison in Saginaw. He’ll be resentenced in December and could receive between 25 and 60 years.
Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Greg Boer requested that Maleski’s life term remain in place.
“It is very, very clear that he assisted in brutally beating this man,” he said. “The defendant is simply not accepting responsibility for his role in this.”
Defense attorney Deno Fotieo said Maleski grew up in a home where there was substance abuse, where he was sexually assaulted and where he was taken off medication for attention-deficit disorder.
“It’s clear he had a very difficult upbringing,” Fotieo said. “There were numerous crimes that he was involved in as a juvenile; none of those are assaultive crimes. It’s not in his nature to be assaultive.”
Mark Kopp and Joshua Rogers are serving life terms in Jones’ death. James Rivero is serving 35 to 60 years. Rogers, who was 17 at the time of the murder, will also have a resentencing hearing.