LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the new lighter sentence of a 45-year-old man who was 14 when he killed his 12-year-old sister in 1987.
Sydney Thieszen had been sentenced to life in prison without parole for bludgeoning and shooting his adopted 12-year-old sister in their Henderson-area home. Prosecutors said Thieszen killed his sister because he was afraid she would tell police he was running away from home.
Last year, a judge resentenced Thieszen to 70 years to life, based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared mandatory life-without-parole sentences unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
Thieszen appealed the new sentence, arguing it amounted to a de facto life sentence.
But on Friday, the state’s high court ruled that Thieszen’s new sentence was not excessive under the law.