A man who was a few months away from his 18th birthday when he killed a rival over $50 returned to a Kent County courtroom Friday to be re-sentenced for the 2003 Grand Rapids murder.
Demariol D. Boykin was sentenced in Dec. 2003 to life in prison for what the judge called “murderous acts,’’ but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life terms for juvenile killers is unconstitutional.
Now 31, Boykin apologized for his actions nearly 14 years ago and asked the family of Shawn Michael Broyles for forgiveness. Broyles was 19 when he was murdered.
“An apology can never be enough for what I did,’’ Boykin said. “I’m truly sorry for what I did.’’
That did not sway members of the victim’s family, two of whom told Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber that Boykin should have to serve the original sentence of life behind bars.
“Fourteen years ago he was supposed to serve a life sentence. Now, all of a sudden the law changed?’’ Michael Broyles, the victim’s younger brother, told the judge. “He needs to stay in prison for the rest of his life; it’s that simple.’’
Leiber was not unsympathetic.
“I can encourage you to express this message to the United States Supreme Court and the justices who made this re-sentencing possible,’’ Leiber said. “I think sometimes analyzing a situation in a vacuum doesn’t produce justice, but it is the rule of law which I am obliged to follow.’’
The judge sentenced Boykin to between 40 and 60 years in prison, noting the brutality of the crime. It was the maximum he could impose under a re-sentencing law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Instead of mandatory life, teen killers now face a minimum sentence of between 25 and 40 years and a maximum term of not less than 60 years.
“This was an intentional act. This wasn’t a provocation,’’ Leiber said. “He admits trying to fire the gun still pressed against the victim’s face before he and his accomplices resorted to repeatedly kicking him about his body and his head.’’
Boykin fired multiple shots at Broyles. He was shot twice while fleeing and then kicked as he lay dying on a sidewalk along Alto Avenue SE near Dickinson Street.
Boykin is one of 24 people in Kent County sentenced to mandatory life in prison for murders they committed as juveniles.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that mandatory life terms for juvenile offenders was unconstitutional, triggering re-sentencing hearings for more than 360 juvenile lifers held in Michigan prisons. New hearing have been held in seven of the Kent County cases.
Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth intends to block the release of 13 of the 24 convicted killers. But those cases are on hold pending a decision by Michigan Supreme Court on how they should be sentenced.