Archive for Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Teens sentenced for killing homeless man

April 25, 2006

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— Four teenagers who pleaded guilty to beating a homeless man to death last spring were sentenced to more than 20 years in prison Monday.

The teens pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Michael Roberts, 53. Authorities said Roberts was beaten, kicked and crushed when his attacked jumped on a log on his chest.

Jeffrey Spurgeon, 19, and Chris Scamahorn, 15, were each sentenced to 35 years in prison. Justin Stearns, 18, will serve 27 years, and Warren Messner, 16, was sentenced to nearly 23 years. All four will be on probation for the rest of their lives.

Circuit Judge Joseph G. Will said he felt a life sentence wasn't right for four young people whose lives had hardly begun. But Will said the teens needed time to reflect on what they had done. "You need enough time ... as maybe Mr. Roberts may have lived had he been left alone," he said.

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