No-parole sentence for teen thrown out in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has ordered a new sentence for a Kalamazoo teenager convicted of murder and suggested that he shouldn’t be locked up for the rest of his life.

The court upheld the conviction of 16-year-old Victor Garay, saying the evidence in a 2014 gang-related shooting was “overwhelming.” But the court said Tuesday that Judge Alexander Lipsey didn’t handle the sentencing correctly.

The court says Lipsey didn’t adequately explain why Garay should be the rare teenager who gets a no-parole sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court has said no-parole sentences for teens should be uncommon.

The appeals court says the judge “gave little credence” to a social worker’s testimony that Garay has the potential to be rehabilitated.

The case now will return to Lipsey’s court in Kalamazoo County.

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