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Sentencing Ahead For Teen In Woman’s Trunk Killing

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A boy who helped abduct and kill a 19-year-old Lansing woman when he was 13 is going back to court for sentencing.

Ingham County Judge George Economy is scheduled to sentence the 15-year-old Friday for first-degree murder.

Authorities said the youth was 13 in July 2010 when he, his father and several others entered Shayla Johnson’s Lenore Street home to kidnap her. Police say Johnson was dragged out of her bed and thrown into the trunk of a car, where she was shot multiple times.

Authorities say the group hoped to gain access to her boyfriend’s marijuana plants.

Economy will decide whether to sentence the teen as a juvenile or adult. He also could issue a delayed sentence, leaving the teen in juvenile detention until age 21, when he could face more imprisonment.

At a hearing last week, psychologist Leonard Vanderjagt recommended that the judge impose a delayed sentence. He testified that the teen is unlikely to change but nevertheless wouldn’t recommend a life sentence.

“I find it premature to close the book on this young person’s life,” Vanderjagt said, adding that a delayed sentence would provide the opportunity to “prove he can become a non-threatening member of society.”

The teen also was found guilty of home invasion, assault with intent to rob while armed, felony firearm and two conspiracy counts.

His 34-year-old father and four other men, ranging in age from 20 to 24, were charged in federal court in connection with the case, and two additional men pleaded guilty in federal court.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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