Sent To Prison At 12 For Killing, Teen Is Now Free

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)

A Kosciusko County man who was sentenced as a juvenile to 25 years in prison for helping kill his friend's stepfather has been released after spending seven years behind bars.

The Indianapolis Star reports that 19-year-old Paul Gingerich has been living with his mother in Fort Wayne since his release in March.

Gingerich was 12 when he helped 15-year-old Colt Lundy fatally shoot Lundy's stepfather, Phil Danner. The boys were sentenced as adults to 25 years in prison.

Gingerich was resentenced last year under a new law named after him. "Paul's Law" lets juveniles who commit serious crimes receive alternative sentences.

Gingerich will be under 24-hour electronic monitoring until next year and court supervision until 2020. Afterward he'll begin 10 years of probation.

Gingerich declined the newspaper's request for comment.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Teen jailed for murder at age 12 could be released within three months

From Oct. 28, 2016

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - A Kosciusko County teen, who was 12 years old when he helped kill his friend's stepfather, could be released from custody in just a few months.

Paul Gingerich was in court Friday morning for a hearing on his sentencing.

Now 18 years old, Gingerich pleaded guilty in 2010 in helping shoot 49-year-old Phil Danner that same year.

Gingerich was sentenced as an adult to 25 years.

Under a state law that bears his name, a judge can now consider other sentencing options which include his release or finishing his sentence in prison.

In court, Gingerich learned that he will be sent to the adult Pendleton prison in about two weeks and then, could be home in as few as 90 days on good behavior. After his release, he will have to spend at least one year in home detention and 10 years on probation.

"I think [Gingerich's mother] is going to be thrilled to have her baby boy back with her," his attorney, Monica Foster said. "I think it's going to come as a bit of surprise to her that he's not such a baby anymore."

Not at all in fact. The now 18 year old Gingerich stood taller than the sheriff that escorted him into the court house Friday morning. He's much more mature now, with a strong jaw line and short buzz cut; much different than the shaggy headed pre-teen who couldn't erase a nervous smile from his face as he walked past television cameras in a striped "County Jail" uniform six years ago. His words matched that adult demeanor in the courthosue as well.

Gingerich spoke about his actions hurting the community, loved ones and the Danner family. He said he was tired of hurting those around him because of his decision making and asked for a second chance.

"I know I committed a truly horrible crime and I am sorry for that," Gingerich said, his voice trembling, as he apologized to the Danner family. "Sorry is not enough for the terrible mistake I made. I will never stop being sorry and sorry will never be enough."

Before the judge's ruling, he read two letters from family of Danner. After the hearing, Kosciusko County Prosecutor Daniel Hampton read them to the media.

"He's guilty of murder, premeditated murder," Danner read from one letter. "Good grades and college credit do not make Paul innocent of this crime and does not guarantee he will not commit another crime."

Another excerpt read, "He murdered my father and I don't think he's done enough time for the crime he has committed."

While one family grieves over the justice system's decision, another has a renewed sense of life with their loved one returning home sooner than expected.

"[The family] is very, very relieved and very grateful and very happy" Foster said. "They also, I would say, it's not lost on them that this continues to drag Mr. Danner's family and his loved ones through a lot of turmoil and pain and that fact is not lost on them. So that is not far from their minds at all but with regard to their son, they are very happy."

A second chance granted for a boy, now turned man, to make something of his life after a grave mistake.

"It's overwhelming for him," Foster said. "It's overwhelming for me and I'm an adult. I was in the back talking with him and he and I have traveled a long road in this case. We were talking about it in the back behind the court room and I'm overwhelmed by it and he is too."

The other boy charged in the case, Colt Lundy, 21, will be jailed until at least 2022 for shooting Phil Danner.

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Source : http://www.wndu.com/content/news/Kosciusko-Co-man-free-after-being-sentenced-in-killing-at-age-12-437900273.html

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