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Watertown inmate appeals life sentence given as teen

News Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
The Daily Republic
Watertown inmate appeals life sentence given as teen
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

WATERTOWN (AP) — A South Dakota state prison inmate from Watertown who was given a life sentence when she was a teenager is trying to get the sentence overturned.

Jessi Owens was 17 when she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1998 hammer beating death of David Bauman. Authorities say Owens and another teen went to Bauman's house to steal money.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last year said mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile homicide offenders violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. KWAT radio reports that the now-33-year-old Owens has filed a motion claiming she received an illegal sentence.

Owens appeared before Judge Robert Timm on Wednesday. He will issue a ruling later.

Associated Press