Paul Dean Jensen

Victoria Wicks file photo

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the 200-year sentence of Paul Dean Jensen. The prison inmate was 14 when he murdered Michael Hare in Fort Pierre 20 years ago.

Jensen was sentenced to life without possibility of parole, the only penalty available to him at the time. After the U.S. Supreme Court found mandatory life sentences for juvenile murderers to be unconstitutional, Jensen came up for a new sentence hearing in June last year.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports this latest development in an ongoing story.

Kealey Bultena

In The Moment... February 27, 2017 Show 038 Hour 1

We begin the hour with an update on the Paul Dean Jensen case. Jensen spent 20 years in prison, serving life without parole for a murder he committed in 1996 at the age of 14. In June, a judge reconsidered that penalty and imposed a 200 year sentence. Now Jensen is appealing the second sentence. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks has the update.

Victoria Wicks file photo

Paul Dean Jensen spent 20 years in prison, serving life without parole for a murder he committed in 1996 at the age of 14. In June, a judge reconsidered that penalty and imposed a 200 year sentence, with parole eligibility in 2021.

Now Jensen is appealing that second sentence. He says the sentencing judge abdicated his responsibilities to the parole board.

The South Dakota Supreme Court will consider this case on briefs during its March term. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Paul Dean Jensen was serving life without parole for the murder and kidnapping of Mike Hare when the U.S. Supreme Court gave Jensen a second chance. The inmate was 14 years old when he committed his crimes. He was tried as an adult, and under South Dakota law at the time, his life sentence was mandatory. He spent almost 20 years in prison, and then his sentence was reconsidered at a hearing in Fort Pierre, held on Thursday and Friday last week.

Victoria Wicks

Paul Dean Jensen was serving life without parole for the murder and kidnapping of Mike Hare when the U.S. Supreme Court gave Jensen a second chance. The inmate was 14 years old when he committed his crimes. He was tried as an adult, and under South Dakota law at the time, his life sentence was mandatory. He spent almost 20 years in prison, and then his sentence was reconsidered at a hearing in Fort Pierre, held on June 2-3.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

Twenty years after committing murder, South Dakota penitentiary inmate Paul Dean Jensen has been given a reduced sentence. Sixth Circuit Presiding Judge John L. Brown heard testimony for two full days, June 2-3, before setting the new sentence at 200 years. Jensen, just 14 at the time of the crime, had an extensive juvenile history, but supporters say he's found religion behind bars.

Dakota Digest June 3, 2016

Jun 3, 2016
SDPB

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, SDPB's Jim Kent spoke with a WWII veteran who can still fit into his old military uniform. Also, SDPB Radio Director Cara Hetland joined Dakota Midday to talk about Paul Dean Jensen, who was convicted of first degree murder at the age of 14, and who is now having his sentence reconsidered. The Great Plains Zoo weighs in on the Gorilla incident in Cincinnati. 

Photo by Cara Hetland

Paul Dean Jensen was just 14 years old when he shot and killed Michael Hare in Stanley County. For that crime, Jensen was sentenced to life without parole, the mandatory penalty under South Dakota law. But now, 20 years later, U.S. Supreme Court rulings have given Jensen the opportunity to make a case for a lesser sentence. A clinical psychologist testified Thursday, June 2, that Jensen's potential release would require training and supervision to bring Jensen's life skills to an adult level.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

In a Fort Pierre courtroom, Paul Dean Jensen is up for reconsideration of his sentence. He robbed and murdered Michael Hare about 20 years ago, and because he was only 14 at the time, he now has a chance to argue for a sentence less than life without parole. Witnesses for Jensen say that he has changed over the years and now could be a productive member of society. But witnesses for the state testified that the crime remains fresh in their memories and has left wounds that are still raw today. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports from inside the Stanley County Courthouse.

MPR

There are just some things as a reporter you never forget. I will always remember the day of the Mickelson plane crash, the Spencer tornado, talking with survivors of the Rapid City flood, and my first prison interview. It was March or April of 2000 and I was doing a series of stories about juvenile corrections. This was on the heels of the death of Gina Score at a boot camp in Plankinton. I was looking into how we treat juvenile offenders in South Dakota.

Photo from the "Free Paul Dean Jensen" Facebook page

In November 1996, Paul Dean Jensen was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. That sentence was mandatory at the time, even though Jensen was only 14 when he committed premeditated murder. Now, almost 20 years later, he's getting a chance at someday walking free. Because of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Jensen's sentence is up for reconsideration at a hearing in Fort Pierre this week.

Photo courtesy of SD Attorney General

Prison inmates who committed murder while juveniles have a chance to escape their mandatory sentence of life without possibility of parole. The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision this week that Miller v. Alabama is retroactive, and so inmates convicted before that 2012 decision can now ask for a reduced sentence. Justices say states can offer parole eligibility to the affected inmates and avoid a new trial or sentence hearing. In South Dakota, only one inmate, Paul Dean Jensen, is affected.

The South Dakota Supreme Court is meeting at the University of Sioux Falls this week. This morning the court is hearing oral arguments in three cases, among them a challenge to a lengthy juvenile sentence and a request from an attorney to have his arrest record cleared.

First up on the calendar is the case of Brandon Taliaferro (pronounced “Toliver”). He's a lawyer who served as a Brown County deputy state’s attorney until his boss dismissed him and asked the Division of Criminal Investigation to look at possible witness tampering, suborning perjury, and other charges.