MURDER CASE: New Sentencing For Teen Killer

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The Iowa Court of Appeals has vacated the life in prison sentence for a teen convicted in 2010 of murdering and sexually abusing his young cousin, and has ordered the teen to be re-sentenced.

Edgar Concepcion Jr. was 14-years-old in 2009 when he killed his three-year-old cousin Krystel Banes in Charles City. Officials say Concepcion had also been sexually abusing the girl.

In 2010, Concepcion was convicted of first degree murder, first degree sexual abuse, second degree sexual abuse, and child endangerment.

Concepcion, who is now 18-years-old, filed an appeal to his conviction and sentencing making several claims, including challenges to the sufficiency of evidence and an assertion that his life without parole sentence was cruel and unusual punishment.

In July of 2012, Concepcion’s life in prison sentence was commuted to 60 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 60 years. The change came after a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling a life sentence for a juvenile convicted of first degree murder is cruel and unusual punishment.

The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions for Concepcion but vacated all of the sentencings except for the child endangerment conviction. The court has remanded the other cases for new sentencing.

The court says an individualized sentencing hearing must be held before Concepcion may be sentenced to life without parole or the functional equivalent of life without parole.