Juvenile lifer resentenced, eligible for parole - WNEM TV 5

Juvenile lifer resentenced, eligible for parole

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A local man, convicted of murder when he was just 16-years-old, is getting a second chance at freedom.

In 1982, Henry Hill Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a murder at Saginaw's Wickes Park that stemmed from a dispute between two families.

Hill is the first of 21 other Saginaw County men to be resentenced as part of a Supreme Court ruling.

"I prayed. I prayed. I prayed. It's a wonderful day," said Charles McClaine, Hill's uncle.

McClaine has only been able to talk to his nephew from the other side of the glass for 36 years. Now, thanks to a first of its kind event in Saginaw County, McClaine and Hill could be reunited on the outside soon.

Hill was 16 when he was sentenced to life without parole for his role in the shooting death of Anthony Thomas in 1980.

In 2012 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled juveniles could no longer receive life in prison without the possibility of parole, which was applied retroactively.

Since the court found Hill has been rehabilitated and ruled he is not a risk to society, Judge Darnell Jackson resentenced Hill to 35 and a half years. Since he has already served 36 years, Hill is eligible for parole.

For McClaine, everything has come full circle. He was the one who turned his nephew into police shortly after Thomas' death.

"I had to go where my heart was. I know that it was wrong and you can't make two wrongs right. Turn them in and see what the law is going to do because you know, they had been looking for them and stuff. And I didn't want no more shootings during that time," McClaine said.

Hill's sister Marva Jones was one of 21 members of Hill's friends and family on hand for the resentencing.

"I'm just overjoyed. I cannot believe it. It's a day I've been waiting for," Jones said.

Hill's attorney said the state parole board could approve Hill's release as early as June.

As for McClaine, he knows the first thing he will do with his nephew when he gets out.

"Take him to McDonald's and buy him a hamburger," McClaine said.

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