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Judge sentences Spader to life again, citing 'irretrievable depravity'

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 26. 2013 11:34AM

MANCHESTER — A judge today sentenced former Brookline teen and convicted ringleader of the savage 2009 Mont Vernon "thrill kill" Steven Spader to the same term imposed at trial, saying there is nothing in his youthful background, home life, maturity level or prospect for rehabilitation that would warrant a lesser sentence.

"It is not a lack of maturity impoverishing his judgment, but rather a profound and disturbing lack of humanity," Hillsborough County Superior Court Gillian L. Abramson wrote in her 21-page sentencing order issued today.

Abramson sentenced Spader, now 21, to life in prison without chance of parole for the first-degree murder of Mont Vernon registered nurse Kimberly L. Cates, 42. She also sentenced Spader to 76 years in maximum consecutive sentences for the attempted murder of Cates' daughter, Jaimie, then 11, and three other related charges.

The sentence is the same Abramson imposed — and the state requested — after Spader was convicted in 2010 at trial.

That sentence became void last June when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Miller v. Alabama decision. In that ruling, the court said it was unconstitutional to sentence juvenile offenders to mandatory life imprisonment without chance of parole, saying this violated the Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

The Miller decision did not bar court's from imposing mandatory life sentences without chance of parole, but said offenders who were under 18 years of age had a right to individual sentencing hearings.

"Admittedly, the U.S. Supreme Court has cautioned trial courts that 'occasions for sentencing juveniles to this harshest possible penalty will be uncommon.'" Abramson wrote.

"However, the court finds this defendant is uniquely and persistently malevolent and, as such, is an 'uncommon' example under the Miller analysis," she concluded.

Spader chose not to attend his sentencing hearing Monday and ordered his attorneys not to present a case on his behalf.

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