Mother speaks out against varying sentences for same crime

Investigates

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When it comes to locking people up for a long time, according to the sentencing project, South Dakota has the 13th highest incarceration rate in the nation. South Dakota is one of only three states that has a life without parole sentence for manslaughter.

KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke has been looking into disparities in manslaughter sentencing in South Dakota for our latest KELOLAND News investigation.

Four young men, all under the age of 21, were all charged with the same crime in the 2013 death of Jordan LeBeau: first degree manslaughter. But the four received varying sentences so extreme, that it’s almost unbelievable.

The mother of the man who got the most time in prison is working to change South Dakota’s sentencing guidelines.

“Judge Zell said to Kevin, and I didn’t hear him say it to anybody else–but to Kevin, ‘You should have stopped it.’ They all could have stopped it. Anybody could have stopped it,” said Anne Rice, mother of man who is serving 60 years for manslaughter.

But prosecutors say there’s nothing wrong with our criminal justice system and judges should have discretion.

Don’t miss Monday night’s investigation, “Manslaughter: Unequal Time”, at 10 p.m.

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