A man who was 16 when he helped execute a Crystola couple to see “what it felt like” has been resentenced to 84 years in prison, the latest youthful killer to earn a chance at freedom under recent reforms.
Josiah Seth Ivy, now 33, initially was ordered to serve two life terms without the possibility of parole after he was convicted in the fatal shootings of Gary Alflen, 47, and Stacy Dahl, 39, during a burglary in their home.
But U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2012 and 2016 found that life sentences without the chance of parole for juveniles constitute cruel and unusual punishment, requiring new penalties to be imposed.
Fourth Judicial District Judge Marla Prudek issued Ivy’s new sentence Tuesday in a written ruling, following a weeklong sentencing hearing in April.
The judge’s reasoning is unclear, as the El Paso County Clerk of Court’s Office declined to provide her 16-page order, saying it didn’t have time to redact the document in keeping with the clerk’s policies. The ruling could be available Wednesday, the clerk’s office said.
Ivy is likely to be eligible for parole by 2057, based on estimates provided in court by a Colorado Department of Corrections administrator who testified about various sentencing outcomes.
The same analysis found that his mandatory release date is likely to be in 2067.
An updated parole eligibility date will be posted on the DOC’s website once it updates its records with Ivy’s new sentence.
The Supreme Court opinions that led to a sea change in sentencing policies for juveniles turned on developing research showing that brains do not fully mature until people are in their mid-20s.
Children are more susceptible to influence than adults, and they’re more open to reforming their behavior after they get in trouble, the court found.
About two dozen youthful killers in Colorado have seen sentence adjustments in the wake of the 2016 Supreme Court ruling, sometimes putting them within sight of release.
Relatives of Alflen and Dahl asked for a sentence that would keep Ivy behind bars, while his supporters argued that he has been rehabilitated. His attorneys also say his co-defendant, Michael J. Paprocki, was the triggerman, and Ivy’s confession to a jail guard — in which he said he killed the couple to see what it felt like — was a case of a teenage “puffery.”
Paprocki, now 37, was convicted as an adult and is serving a life sentence without parole at the Sterling Correctional Facility in northeastern Colorado.