TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told FOX23 News Thursday afternoon that a new Supreme Court ruling that just regarding homicidal youthful offenders opens the door for him to possibly get the chance of parole revoked for a teen convicted in the 2015 murder of a Broken Arrow family.
Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the requirement that in order to sentence a juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole a judge or a jury would have to determine the defendant is both permanently incorrigible and irreparably corrupt, and instead, a youthful offender could just be sentenced based off the circumstances of the case.
“I don’t want to reopen the entire case,” Kunzweiler said.
“I will do everything in my power keep those witnesses from having to take the stand and recount everything they saw again. I already have a conviction. There’s no question he’s guilty. I just want to have his sentence re-examined. We now have this ruling that how his sentence was approached may not have been totally in line with how the Supreme Court says it should have been.”
Kunzweiler said Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling proved what the jury showed in the Michael Bever trial, that they were being asked to determine something that was impossible to declare, and that was if Bever could ever turn his life around and be a completely new person once he’s served out the minimum requirements of his sentence.
Bever was 16 at the time of the murder and sentenced in 2018 with a chance at parole.
“We were asked to make the case as to how a kid in his teens is going to act when he was at least fifty years old decades from now,” he said.
“Nobody knows that with any certainty, but what we do know and did know is the severity of the crime that occurred and his life leading up to those events.”
He said the jury was clearly hung up on the fact that Michael Bever was so young, and because prosecutors couldn’t predict the future, the jury decided in favor of parole. However, he said if the Supreme Court ruling had been applied in the situation, the jury would have solely focused on the past and the present and not be asked to in his opinion predict the future.
This is a developing breaking news story and will be updated further as more details come out. Come back to this page for updates.
Cox Media Group