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Boy, 13, Gets Up to 30 Years in Prison for Murder Under S. Carolina Law

July 06, 1986|United Press International

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Hugging his mother and crying as he was led from the courtroom, a 13-year-old youth was sentenced to prison for up to 30 years for murder under a controversial South Carolina law.

Family Court Judge R. Kinard Johnson passed sentence last week on the youth, who under juvenile laws could not be identified, after prosecutors failed to have him certified as an adult in the case.

The youth was convicted of the Jan. 9 murder of 59-year-old Kenneth Carroll Giles. Details of the crime were sketchy and lawyers refused to discuss the case.

Defense attorneys claimed that the youth's constitutional rights to trial by jury and having his case heard by a grand jury were violated, but prosecutors contended his lack of certification as an adult meant those rights were waived.

At issue was a 5-year-old state law that says a juvenile can be transferred from the Department of Youth Services to the Corrections Department at age 21 if the crime for which he was sentenced would have resulted in a prison sentence of more than 30 years if he were an adult.

Johnson said the sentence is open-ended and it will be up to youth services officials to determine if the youth should go to prison. He would be 43 years old at the end of the full sentence.

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