When Shawn M. Commire was just 16, he and his older cousin perpetrated one of the most infamous and brutal crimes in recent Bay City memory — the killing of retired nurse Rita M. Salogar. Sentenced to die in prison, Commire now may one day walk free after a judge announced he plans to impose a new sentence.

Rather than celebrating, Commire voice his objection to such a development, saying he does not want a lighter sentence.

. . .

Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran on Wednesday, Nov. 8, resumed a juvenile lifer resentencing hearing that began earlier this year. Across four days in June, Sheeran presided over a hearing to determine if Commire merited a term-of-years sentence.

Prosecutors had the burden of proving Commire is one of the rare juvenile lifers who are irreparably corrupt and that he should receive the same life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence. Michigan State Assistant Appellate Defenders Tina N. Olson and Jacqueline Ouvry argued Commire is not beyond rehabilitation.

Sheeran announced the prosecution failed to meet its burden and that he was vacating Commire’s prior sentence, to replace it with a term-of-years sentence. Sheeran is to impose this on Dec. 20.

After Sheeran announced this and went through the reasons for his decision, a seated and shackled Commire spoke up.

“I feel like it’s unfair to keep putting the (Salogar) family through this,” Commire said. “I don’t appreciate what these families have to go through with all these looming court dates. I’m pulling the plug on all this. I’m not coming to court in December. I don’t need to be resentenced, sir.”

The judge informed Commire that, regardless of his wishes, he would be present for the resentencing.

. . .

Dr. Daniel Keating, a professor of psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics at the University of Michigan and an expert in adolescent brain development, described the adolescent brain as “all accelerator, no brakes,” adding adolescence ranges from ages 10 to 25. Thus, he opined Commire’s brain had eight to 10 years of development to undergo when he killed Salogar.

Keating described adolescents as more focused on benefits than risks. An adolescent is more prone than an adult to engage in risky behavior, even more so when in the presence of a peer, Keating said. Goading from a peer may also increase a youth’s likelihood to go along with an impulsive act, he said. Similarly, an adolescent is less likely to halt risky behavior once begun, he added.

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