- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

YORK, Neb. (AP) - A York County district judge has granted the state’s request to delay the resentencing of a man convicted of killing his 12-year-old sister when he was 14.

Judge James Stecker ruled on Monday that proceedings in the case of Sydney Thieszen, now 42, will be suspended until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a Louisiana case. The Louisiana case, scheduled for arguments in March, is expected to clarify guidelines on the sentencing of juvenile killers.

In 1987, Thieszen bludgeoned and shot his adopted 12-year-old sister in their Henderson-area home. Prosecutors said Thieszen killed his sister because he was afraid she would tell police he was running away from home.

At a resentencing in 1996, Thieszen was given the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Stecker ruled in March that Thieszen was entitled to resentencing following a 2012 U. S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the mandatory life sentences for juveniles. Nebraska lawmakers have since passed legislation providing judges with the option of sentencing first-degree murderers 18 and younger to 40 years to life. The Louisiana case is expected to address whether the 2012 decision applies to past cases.

Earlier this month, a March 12 resentencing for Thieszen was scheduled. But after the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments for the Louisiana case, the Nebraska Attorney General’s office asked Stecker to reverse his earlier decision to vacate Thieszen’s life sentence and to delay action until a ruling is rendered on the Louisiana case.

Thieszen’s attorney argued against any further delay, saying the state could have appealed Stecker’s March decision to vacate the life sentence.

Stecker ruled for the state and decided to suspend the proceedings, pending the Supreme Court ruling.


Information from: York News-Times, https://www.yorknewstimes.com

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