Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. – A man convicted of hacking a woman to death with a machete and maiming her daughter during a home invasion when he was 17 is seeking to have his sentence reduced in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Lawyers for Steven Spader, in their motion for a new sentencing hearing, cite the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in June that mandatory sentences of life without parole for those under 18 when a crime was committed amount to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Constitution. The court ruled that judges should have discretion to consider whether a juvenile's "lessened culpability and greater capacity for change" might warrant a lesser sentence.
Spader was convicted in November 2010 of slashing to death 42-year-old Kimberly Cates and maiming her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie Cates, in their Mont Vernon home a year earlier, when he was a month shy of his 18th birthday.
A judge sentenced him to a mandatory life sentence on a murder conviction and a total of 76 years in prison on his convictions for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit burglary and witness tampering.
Several other high-profile convicted killers in New Hampshire may seek to have their sentences reduced, citing the same U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Robert Tulloch, one of two Vermont teenagers convicted of killing Dartmouth professors Half and Suzanne Zantop in 2001, when he was 17; Robert Dingman, convicted of killing his parents in their Rochester home in 1996, and Eduardo Lopez Jr., convicted of shooting a man to death during a robbery in Nashua in 1991 also may seek sentence reductions.