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Court grants reduced sentence to juvenile lifer

January 18, 2013 |  6:34 pm

A Riverside County judge on Friday granted a new sentence to Sara Kruzan, originally sentenced to life without parole for murdering the man for whom she worked for three years as a prostitute. She was 16 at the time.

Kruzan's case was cited repeatedly by politicians seeking to overturn California's law allowing juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole. However, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2011 reduced her sentence to 25 years to life.

A Riverside judge's decision to convert her conviction to second-degree rather than first-degree murder further reduces her sentence to 19 years minimum, making Kruzan immediately eligible for parole.

California lawmakers in 2012 passed legislation allowing courts to review other cases involving juvenile offenders and to grant similar 25-to-life sentences to those who have served at least 15 years in prison.

“There are many more Sara Kruzans out there who also deserve a more appropriate sentence and fortunately under SB9 they will have that chance," said Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), a sponsor of that bill.

Kruzan contended her abuser assaulted her when she was 11, and then groomed her for prostitution. She said she began working for him at 13, and killed him in 1995 when she was 16.

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