Michigan's oldest juvenile lifer, 74, will be published


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By Associated press

DETROIT – A judge has paved the way for the release of a 74-year-old man, the oldest and oldest prisoner in Michigan, sentenced to life imprisonment for murder at the time of his death. ;adolescence.

Sheldry Topp, in prison since 1962, was sentenced on Tuesday at 40 years and 60 years. He will likely be released Thursday because he has accumulated numerous credits for good behavior, said Chris Gautz of the Correctional Service.

Sheldry Topp.Michigan Department of Corrections via AP / AP

"He is in a wheelchair, his health is not good, but he is suspended in his business," said lawyer Deborah LaBelle at the Associated Press. "I feared he would die before seeing the night sky" as a free man.

Topp was convicted of stabbing a man from Oakland County during a home burglary in 1962. He was 17 when Charles Davis died.

Michigan and other states have been forced to change the way they condemn teens after the US Supreme Court has ruled that minors can not automatically be given conditional sentences. Parole sentences are still possible in some cases, and prosecutor Jessica Cooper has asked for one again for Topp.

But Justice James Alexander of Oakland County said Topp had been rehabilitated.

Topp had a history of mental health problems when he was a teenager when he left a public hospital where he was being treated with electroshock, said attorney Trevor Garrison at a trial.

"Topp's education was described as brutal and he was often the target of abuse by his father," said the judge.

After his capture in Chicago, Topp confessed, claiming that Davis had been killed during a fight. Four years later, the Supreme Court declared that suspected criminals should be informed that they have the right to silence and the right to have an attorney present during interrogation.

An e-mail requesting comments on the new sentence was sent to the prosecutor's office.

Alexander noted that the Michigan Parole Board had recommended a few years ago that Topp's sentence be served. But two governors refused to grant it.

Topp plans to live with a sister in another state.

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