Life or Maturity for Convicted Murderer?

Almost three years ago today, November 15th to be exact, Sheila Myers was working in her job in Clear Lake with her daughter, Mandy, at home waiting for her. The gas station had another attendant working with her. Both were coming to the end of their shifts when a St. Louis Park man pulled in and proceeded to rob the store. He shot both clerks, killing each from close range.

Police apprehended the gunman who was identified as Michael Swanson. He was later convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. For Mandy Myers, there was some closure, but she has said that nothing can bring back her mother. Myers was satisfied with the sentence and went on about her life.

Swanson, who was 17 at the time, was commuted for the sentence in July of 2012 along with 38 other juvenile offenders by Governor Terry Branstad saying that the offenders would not get a parole hearing for at least 60 years. This would reaffirm the life sentences for the inmates, but a year later, the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office filed a motion for re-sentencing which has been scheduled for July of 2014.

The reason for the motion is purely a scientific reason and based on an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that kids aren’t as culpable as adults because their minds are still maturing. Now attorneys on both sides will argue whether Swanson is changing or if he can be rehabilitated. Afterwards, a judge will determine if a parole hearing is warranted. Mandy Myers would like Swanson to stay in prison, but in reality, the decision may not end with the judges ruling. It will be subject to court appeals and rulings of higher courts.

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