Michigan man resentenced to 30-60 years for slaying teen
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man who was sentenced as a juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole has been resentenced to 30 to 60 years for the 1994 shooting death of a 16-year-old.
Berrien County Trial Court Judge Scott Schofield on Thursday resentenced David Clayton, the Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported . Clayton, 41, was 17 years old when he shot Samuel Merriweather Jr. on a sidewalk in Benton Harbor. Merriweather named Clayton as one of his attackers before he died.
Clayton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
His resentencing follows the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a life sentence without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
The Supreme Court ruling prompted Michigan legislators to enact a law in 2014 that gave sentencing judges a choice between life without parole or a term of years for cases in which juveniles were convicted of first-degree murder. If resentenced to a term of years, the minimum sentence must be between 25 and 40 years, with the maximum set at 60 years.
Clayton apologized to the victim’s family and the community at the hearing. His lawyer, Sofia Nelson, told the court that Clayton has become a tutor to younger prisoners and has had the lowest possible security risk score since 2004.
“I’ve stopped blaming others,” Clayton said. “I’ve been on this journey. I wanted to change for myself, even if I was going to die behind bars.”
Information from: The Herald-Palladium, http://www.heraldpalladium.com