Two York murderers resentenced
Two men imprisoned since they were teens for committing murder in York County as juveniles had their sentences modified in court Monday.
Larry Markle, 58, and Scott Griffin, 59, were sentenced to life in prison without parole for their unrelated crimes in the mid-1970s.
But they and nine other teenagers convicted of first- and second-degree murder as adults in York County Court and automatically sentenced to life received a second chance at freedom in June 2012.
That's when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to automatically sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole. Life sentences may still be handed down for juveniles, the highest court in the land ruled — but they can't be automatic. In Pennsylvania, first- and second-degree murder convictions carry automatic life sentences with no parole.
The 11 defendants' cases have remained in limbo in the ensuing years.
In November 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled only those whose cases were still in the appeals process could be resentenced. But the U.S. Supreme Court overruled that, saying it's unconstitutional for every juvenile lifer, and each must receive a resentencing hearing.
Agreement made: On Monday morning, Markle chose not to have his hearing and instead accepted prosecutors' offer to resentence him to 42 years to life in prison, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office. As part of the agreement, Markle waived his future appellate rights, King said.
Markle has served nearly 42 years in prison.
He fatally shot 72-year-old Arthur Klinedinst while robbing Eddie's Food Market at 566 W. Philadelphia St. in 1975. Klinedinst was a customer there.
Griffin's resentencing hearing happened Monday afternoon, and it included witness testimony.
Up for parole: At the close of the hearing, presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn resentenced Griffin to 43 years to life, according to defense attorney George Margetas.
"In essence, he's eligible for parole in three weeks," the attorney said.
Margetas had asked for a time-served sentence.
Griffin fatally shot girlfriend Linda D. Hagens, 17, in the chest with a deer rifle during an argument in his York City home in 1974.
There are about 460 inmates in Pennsylvania who had been serving life sentences for murders they committed as teens, The Associated Press reported.
Most of York County's juvenile murderers are still waiting to be resentenced.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.