TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ/AP) – A young man convicted of fatally stabbing a teenage girl in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and burying her in a sand pile will get a new sentence, according to the state Court of Appeals.
An order earlier this month said 19-year-old Robert Schwander’s sentence will be vacated and he’ll be resentenced by another judge, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. A new judge will handle the case to “preserve the appearance of justice,” the order said.
Grand Traverse County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power earlier this year trimmed two years off Schwander’s sentence after the Court of Appeals told Power he failed to explain why he exceeded the minimum recommended under state guidelines.
The Court of Appeals said, however, that the sentence trimming was done in a manner inconsistent with mandated procedures.
A jury found Schwander guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of 16-year-old Carly Lewis of Traverse City. Lewis disappeared on June 2, and her body was found June 14 in a sand pile at a public works complex, near a hut that Schwander was using as a temporary dwelling.
Prosecutors contended Schwander plotted Carly’s death and fatally stabbed her. Testifying in his own defense, Schwander told jurors Carly died after he put her in a choke hold to calm her down during an argument. He said he never intended to kill her.
Power initially sentenced Schwander, the son of a Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputy, to 40-70 years — nearly double the highest minimum under state sentencing guidelines.
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