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State’s top court to review teen’s life term in ’09 slaying

Posted: 8:51 PM, Apr 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-07 20:51:43-04

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to review the life sentence of a man who was a teenager when he kidnapped a customer from a sandwich shop in a notorious Detroit-area homicide.

Ihab Masalmani twice has been sentenced to the same life term for murder.

In 2009, Matt Landry was abducted from a fast-food parking lot in Eastpointe. His body was found in a burned-out Detroit house.

Masalmani was 17 at the time. Teens no longer can be given automatic no-parole sentences. Judges must consider many factors, including an offender’s background and potential for rehabilitation.

The judge who sentenced Masalmani in 2015 said he had a “terrible” childhood. But after a three-day hearing, she said he still deserved to be locked up for life.

The Supreme Court could set a key precedent for how judges handle other so-called juvenile lifer cases.