TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ/AP) – A 20-year-old man convicted of killing a Traverse City teenager has been sentenced again to at least 40 years in prison.
Judge Philip Rodgers said Friday that the “depravity” of Robert “Jensen” Schwander’s actions justified an unusually long sentence for second-degree murder. Police say he fatally stabbed 16-year-old Carly Lewis in 2011 and buried her in a sand pile.
The Michigan appeals court had ordered a new hearing, ruling that another judge didn’t fully explain why he exceeded 13 years in prison, the typical sentencing guideline.
During Friday’s hearing, Rodgers vividly described how Carly would have struggled to breathe during the time it took her to die, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Schwander addressed the court and apologized for the pain and suffering that his “only mistake in life” caused so many people. Carly’s father Todd Lewis, who once let Schwander live in his home, called his daughter’s killer a “loveless and soulless creature.”
Carly disappeared on June 2 and her body was found June 14, the eve of her 17th birthday, in a sand pile at a public works complex near a hut that Schwander was using as a temporary dwelling. Prosecutors said Schwander, the son of a Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputy, 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.
The parole board will determine when Schwander is released.
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