- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A Pierre man sentenced to life without parole for killing a cab driver two decades ago when he was 14 has been re-sentenced to a term that offers a chance for release in five years.

Circuit Court Judge John Brown re-sentenced Paul Dean Jensen Jr. on Friday to a term of 200 years, which would make him eligible for parole in 2021, Attorney General Marty Jackley said. Jensen was convicted of murder, kidnapping and other offenses for the 1996 slaying of Michael Hare.

The two-day hearing developed out of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles but left open the possibility that judges could still sentence juveniles to life without parole after considering the circumstances of each case.

Prosecutors have said Jensen and Shawn Cameron Springer, who was 16 at the time, hailed Hare’s cab to drive them out of town and then robbed him of $36.48 before shooting him to death. Prosecutors said Jensen shot Hare once in the chest, listened to Hare plead for his life on his knees and then shot him two more times in the head.

The South Dakota Supreme Court upheld Jensen’s convictions and sentences in 1998, with the justices saying the punishment fit the crime. Springer was sentenced to 261 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping. Springer sought to have his sentence reduced in 2013, but a judge refused.

Jensen, acting as his own lawyer, filed a 28-page mostly handwritten motion in July 2013 asking that his sentence be declared illegal so he could be resentenced and asked that a lawyer be appointed to represent him in the case. Jensen said that the U.S. Supreme Court and various studies have found that 14-year-olds are immature, impulsive and susceptible to pressure from others, and that they also are more likely than older criminals to be rehabilitated.

Jackley argued that the Supreme Court ruling did not apply retroactively.

Brown in December 2013 granted a resentencing hearing for Jensen, saying he felt compelled by the Supreme Court ruling.


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