Man convicted of murder as teen makes case to parole panel

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A man convicted of murder as a teenager made his case in front of a parole panel Tuesday.

In January of 1996, then 14-year-old Paul Jensen and 16-year-old Shawn Springer directed a cab driver to take them to rural Fort Pierre.

Once they got to a gravel road, Jensen shot the driver, Mike Hare, multiple times.

Jensen grabbed money, which was just under $40, got in the taxi, and Springer drove off.

14-year-old Jensen was originally sentenced to life in prison without parole.

He was later re-sentenced to 200 years in prison with a chance at parole in 2021.

That was because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles.

In a hearing over Zoom Tuesday, Jensen told the two-member panel that as a kid he had a “totally different set of beliefs” and that he’s had to “completely rewire.”

Several people spoke in favor of parole for Jensen, including a woman who says she’s “seen transformation.”

A pastor and a psychologist also voiced support for Jensen.

Several opponents also spoke up, including Mike’s sister and one of his brothers who’s also the Walworth County State’s Attorney.

“The main thing that really struck me at the hearing again today was there was no apology. It was all about, this is what I have done. I’ve been a prosecutor for the past ten years and I deal with the criminal element all the time and I don’t see a lot of sincerity,” Mike Hare’s brother Jamie Hare said.

Jensen would need the full board’s approval to be granted parole.

On Tuesday, the two-person panel said it would decide by the end of the week if they would move the case on to the full board.

According to the Department of Corrections website, Springer, who’s serving time for kidnapping, isn’t eligible for parole until 2029.

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