Jackson Man With Odd Sentence Stuck With Life In Prison

JACKSON, Mich. -- Leon Echols has spent his adult years in Michigan prisons for killing a man when he was 18. He's not eligible for parole until he's in his 80s, but he's been trying to convince authorities that his punishment doesn't fit the crime.

Echols was convicted of second-degree murder in 1989 for shooting a man in a dispute over a used car. He says it was self-defense.

Judge Michael Talbot sentenced Echols to a minimum of 75 years in prison -- a remarkable punishment when the guidelines called for a minimum of 10 to 25.

The Michigan Supreme Court turned down his appeal for help but says he could ask a governor to shorten the sentence, a difficult process. Justice Michael Cavanagh went further, saying Echols' sentence is illegal.


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