GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who murdered and decapitated a fellow teen in 1996 could walk free in less than a decade.

Federico Cruz, 44, was resentenced Thursday to between 35 and 60 years in prison. He has already been behind bars for about 27.

Cruz was 16 in April 1996 when he murdered 17-year-old David Crawford near Sparta, cut off the victim’s head and recorded himself talking to and mutilating it. The video was so disturbing it wasn’t shown to the jury that convicted him.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling meant he was entitled to resentencing because he was a minor when the crime was committed. He was initially resentenced to life in 2018 but was then granted another resentencing because an appeals court found his rights were violated.

During Thursday’s resentencing, Cruz addressed the Crawford family and said, “I apologize again for taking David from you, for causing you so much harm that is unimaginable. I’m so sorry.”

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office had fought to keep Cruz in prison forever, saying the gruesome nature of the killing warranted it. Crawford’s family has said they are scared for their own lives if and when Cruz gets out.

“I feel it is a great risk for this community for you to walk free,” Crawford’s sister, Kathryn Crawford, said in court Thursday. “I will never forgive you for what you took away from our family.”

But in deciding Cruz would get a term of years rather than life, Judge Mark Trusock said in June that Cruz was mentally ill at the time of the killing and has tried to improve himself while in prison.

Still, Kathryn Crawford begged the court and Cruz to not lose sight of the life lost — her brother’s.

“He was such a kind person. And he was so family-oriented, and he just loved his family. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body and he was also working through his mental health issues and he made good choices,” Crawford said.

On Thursday, Trusock scolded the defense team for hiring an independent party to show a psychological evaluation of Cruz to the Crawford family, unannounced and unsolicited.

“That is outrageous,” Trusock said. “I cannot believe that defense would do that. It is so inappropriate. There is no way that should be allowed. In my opinion that was clearly aimed at intimidating the witness from making a statement at sentencing here today.”