From A Life Sentence To A Chance Of Parole In Battle Creek Murder Case
A judge may decide today if a Battle Creek man, who killed a girl when he was a teenager, should have the chance for parole from prison.
45 year old Thomas Krause II has served 28 years in prison for the April, 1991 strangulation death of 17-year-old Christa Ferree, a Harper Creek High School student. He is the third of three men convicted of first-degree murder in the case and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports both of the co-defendants, John Loepke, Jr., and Brad Warner had their sentences changed from life to 40 to 60 years after hearings earlier in the year. Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Lincoln may decide if Krause, like the other two, has been rehabilitated and deserves a chance at freedom.
Judge Lincoln is holding the hearings following a 2012 United States Supreme Court ruling that mandated the sentencing juveniles to life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment, and only the worst offenders should remain in prison forever.
During 90 minutes of testimony during an opening hearing, Krause told the judge he is a different person than the young man who helped kill Ferree, so he and his friends could take her car and drive to California. He told the court - "I don't deserve anything, but I would like to be given a second chance to prove I am not the same man who committed that awful offense." Krause told the court he has taken as many courses as possible while in prison and has worked hard and changed, even though he never believed he would leave prison.