GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The former Kent County prosecutor who tried and convicted Federico Cruz said Thursday’s resentencing of the convicted killer is a grave mistake.
Bill Forsyth, who prosecuted the crime back in 1996, told News 8 exclusively that the decisions made by the U.S. and Michigan Supreme Courts requiring that all 18-year-old criminals and younger who faced mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole be resentenced has forced judges to make alarming rulings despite the severity of the crime.
“I’m of the opinion that they have effectively made giving a life sentence to a juvenile next to impossible,” Forsyth said. “And if the [court’s] goal is to get rid of mandatory life sentences for juveniles then they ought to have the guts to simply rule that way.”
Federico Cruz, who brutally killed and beheaded David Crawford nearly three decades ago, received a new sentence this week ranging from 35 to 60 years behind bars. He will be credited with time already served. Depending on no further issues within the prison system, Cruz could walk free in eight years.
“I know the Supreme Court, when they passed this ruling years and years ago, said it should be rare that someone gets a life sentence under these conditions in terms of their age. Well, if Federico Cruz and Jon Siesling, for that matter, don’t deserve a life sentence, then I’m not sure anybody does,” Forsyth said.
Siesling was also resentenced due to the high court ruling this past June. He was convicted of killing his mother and two sisters.
“You’re in theory sentencing somebody when they were 16 or 17 years old for what they did at that time,” Forsyth said. “But they’re being resentenced based on how they have behaved in prison for the last 20 or 30 years. That’s troubling, in the sense, because it’s great that they behaved themselves in a controlled environment, but why are they entitled to be resentenced based on their prison behavior, and why not everybody else then?”
Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock said in court this week that he is required to follow the letter of the law even if it prioritizes the criminal’s rights over that of the victims’.
“I can not make the law,” Trusock said. “I’m clearly just a circuit court judge. I will note, for the record, that all of these cases focus on the murderer’s rights. There is no discussion in any of these cases that deal with the victims, the victim’s family, (the) victim’s friends, punishment or deterrent. The only focus from the appellate courts is on the defendants.”