A judge said Friday that she needs more time to rule on a man’s plea for leniency nearly two decades after authorities say he killed a Crystola couple as a 16-year-old out for a thrill.
The announcement by 4th Judicial District Judge Marla Prudek came at the end of a five-day resentencing hearing for Josiah Seth Ivy. He is due to join the nearly two dozen youthful killers who have received new sentences after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that barring parole for people who commit serious crimes as children is “cruel and unusual punishment.”
“We understand that it’s difficult to come back after all this time,” one of Ivy’s attorneys, Cindy Hyatt, told the judge Friday, arguing that laws and attitudes have changed and that Ivy is due the chance to show he can be rehabilitated.
Now 33, Ivy was originally sentenced to two life terms without parole in the Nov. 6, 2002, killings of Gary Alflen, 47, and Stacy Dahl, 39.
A 2012 Supreme Court decision effectively abolished life sentences without parole for juvenile killers, and a 2016 decision made the ruling retroactive, requiring Colorado to craft a new sentencing scheme for children charged with murder or other heinous crimes.
Whether Ivy gets a shot at freedom depends on Prudek.
His attorneys want Prudek to craft a sentence that will grant him a chance of parole after 40 years, or to select a penalty in the mitigated range of 30-50 years. If the judge were to order that the sentences run concurrently, instead of stacking them to a cumulative total, he could one day be released under either scenario.
Prosecutors want the sentences to be served one after another, all but guaranteeing Ivy would die behind bars.
A guard at Spring Creek Youth Services Center testified at Ivy’s 2005 trial that he confessed to being the trigger man, telling her that he shot the couple “to see what it felt like,” but the allegation met resistance this week.
Ivy’s attorneys questioned whether Ivy ever made the statement, and they blamed the shooting on an older co-defendant, Michael Paprocki, 20, who they say persuaded Ivy to claim responsibility. They put on evidence that his abusive childhood left him less able to appreciate consequences and more likely to be manipulated by older people.
Paprocki was also convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in separate proceedings and is serving life without parole in prison.
Nearly a dozen of the victims’ friends and relatives spoke out against granting Ivy a sentence that would release him.
“I hope the right decision is made so I don’t ever have to think about Josiah Ivy again,” Alfen’s nephew, Michael Dabkowsi, said in a statement read in court, calling him “evil” and recounting testimony that Ivy returned to the scene of the crime a day afterward to watch detectives at work.
Ivy’s sister and others spoke about his effort to take accountability and change his life while being held in prison.
It’s unclear when a ruling will be issued.