Pa. inmate convicted as teen given life term again

  • Associated Press May 2, 2014

EASTON – A Pennsylvania inmate who was a 14-year-old gang member when he fatally shot another teenager has lost his bid for a sentence reduction.

Qu’eed Batts, 22, was sentenced Friday morning to life in prison without parole.

The state Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Batts following a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ban on mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles.

Judges and juries must now take into account a defendant’s age, the nature of the crime and other evidence before imposing such a sentence.

Batts was convicted in the 2006 shooting death of 16-year-old Clarence Edwards and the wounding of another teenager in Easton. He said he was acting on the orders of a Bloods gang leader.

Northampton County Judge Michael Koury sentenced Batts to die behind bars, citing “the premeditated, calculated and callous nature” of the killing.

Koury heard a full day of testimony Thursday and said he toured the crime scene Thursday night before making his decision.

“Mercy for Mr. Batts will have to come from God. May God have mercy on your soul,” Koury said in court Friday.

Batts asked for a sentence that would give him a chance at parole.

He apologized to his victim’s family Thursday and told the judge he was changing his life around.

Prosecutors and the victim’s family said Batts deserved life without parole, saying he killed Edwards for no reason and that a lesser sentence would set a dangerous precedent.

Prosecutors also introduced evidence Batts maintained gang ties while in prison.


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