No lighter sentence for man convicted of murder as teen

CORUNNA (AP) — A man convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend when they were teenagers in 1970 won't get a shorter prison sentence.

A Shiawassee County judge said Daniel Wheeler will continue to serve a life sentence with no chance for parole. He has been in prison for nearly 50 years.

Wheeler, now 68, was convicted of killing 16-year-old Erlinda Paz. He was 17 at the time of her death.

Wheeler's conviction carried a mandatory life sentence with no chance for parole. But a U.S. Supreme Court decision reopened his case and many more across the country. The court said
someone under 18 can’t automatically be treated like an adult.

Judges can look at the life, education and maturity level of teens convicted of murder. Judge Matthew Stewart said Wheeler was "impetuous and immature” at the time but still doesn't deserve a sentence that could lead to parole.

Wheeler's “crime demonstrates planning and foresight, rather than impulsivity and recklessness,” the judge said Tuesday.


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