Marlee Johnston's dad helps write law for blended sentencing

Victim’s dad helps craft bill requiring blended sentences:

Ted Johnston is the father of Marlee Johnston. When Marlee was 14 she was bludgeoned to death with an aluminum baseball bat by 14-year-old Patrick Armstrong. Armstrong allegedly admitted to cellmates that he enjoyed every minute of it. So it comes as something of a surprise that Ted Johnston has helped write legislation that would allow juveniles convicted as adults to spend part of their sentence in a juvenile facility prior to turning 18.

Ted Johnston said it’s wrong for juveniles who have committed even the most despicable crimes to be placed in adult prisons. He has been working on legislation drafted by the Attorney General’s Office that would require blended sentences for the youngest offenders.

Remembering his daughter Marlee as kind and compassionate, Johnston said he is trying to pay homage to that part of her through his own actions.

“We don’t need to be abandoning people _ even when they did something as horrible as Patrick (Armstrong) did,” Johnston said, referring to Marlee’s killer.

“I don’t think that’s right,” Johnston said. “I know Marlee wouldn’t either, so to honor her memory we had to make a change.”

Under the bill that Johnston helped develop, those under 16 who are tried and convicted as adults would be placed in juvenile facilities until they turn 18, and only then be transferred to adult prisons to complete their sentences.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said the legislation addresses the rare circumstance of someone very young committing a very serious offense.

“The dilemma we faced with Armstrong was we had a very young victim, and very young suspect who was also 14, who committed a horrendous act and very serious crime,” Stokes said.

Maybe in Maine it’s rare but just by reading this site you can see that it’s not so rare in other places.

Anyway I have no problem with juveniles spending part of their sentences in a juvenile facility until they turn 18. However don’t confuse compassion for weakness. I still fully endorse that juveniles that commit such horrendous acts like the brutal murder of Marlee Johnston still need to be tried as adults.

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