Court To Reconsider Sentence In 2006 Slaying - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Court To Reconsider Sentence In 2006 Slaying

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IONIA, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Court of Appeals has ordered a lower court to reconsider the sentence of life in prison without parole in the 2006 slaying of an 80-year-old mid-Michigan woman.

Justin Stephens was sentenced in 2011 after a jury found him guilty of murder in the death of Bernita Cunningham of Hubbardston.

Now 24, Stephens was 17 at the time of the slaying. The U.S. Supreme Court last year said teens can't automatically get mandatory no-parole sentences.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Friday a new sentencing date in Ionia County Circuit Court hasn't been set.

Authorities initially believed Cunningham died of accidental injuries after falling from a ladder, but later exhumed her body and ruled the death a homicide.

Stephens moved to Texas after Cunningham's death and was later arrested.

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