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Watertown inmate appeals life sentence given as teen

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.

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