GRAND RAPIDS, MI – As police investigated the 1999 killing of Jessica Ledford, 17, her good friend, Marc Osborne, grieved together with her household and signed the visitor ebook on the funeral residence.

He handed a polygraph check, too, her mom recalled.

Kristie Medina stated Osborne was so supportive that “I had a humorous feeling the killer was shut.”

Osborne, now 37, was two months shy of his 18th birthday when he stabbed and strangled Ledford at Highland Park. Her partially nude physique was set as much as seem she had been raped and robbed.

Osborne ultimately confessed to the killing.

Osborne, a juvenile lifer sentenced to a compulsory time period of life in jail with out parole, on Thursday, Nov. 8, sought to have his sentenced lowered.

The U.S. Supreme Court docket earlier decided that obligatory life sentences with out parole for juveniles convicted of first-degree homicide amounted to merciless and strange punishment.

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Kent County Circuit Decide Mark Trusock stated Osborne has been a mannequin prisoner, and labored to coach himself.

Osborne’s head dropped when the decide stated the sentence would stand. He stated Osborne was solely 50 days from turning 18, when the automated life sentence would take impact. Then, there may be the crime itself.

Osborne stabbed the sufferer then would have spent three minutes strangling her earlier than she died, the decide stated.

Earlier than the ruling, Osborne took the witness stand, and, for the primary time, apologized to the sufferer’s household.

“I need them to understand how horrible I really feel for what I’ve finished,” he stated.

“I am ashamed. Seeing what this has finished to my household, I can solely think about what is going on by way of yours.”

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He supplied no clarification for the killing.

When his legal professional, Charles Boekeloo, requested why he killed the lady, he stated: “That is the massive query I’ve requested myself for the previous 20 years.”

He stated the killing resulted from a “collection of occasions that spun uncontrolled.”

Ledford had befriended him months earlier. She at all times noticed the great in others.

Her household thinks Osborne raped her and coated up the crime by killing her. Osborne informed police that that they had consensual intercourse however she turned upset as a result of she cheated on her boyfriend.

If the decide had sided with Osborne, Osborne would have been sentenced to a minimal of 25 years to 40 years in jail, with a most of 60 years, underneath state regulation handed after the Supreme Court docket ruling.

Medina stated after the listening to she was grateful for the decide’s ruling. She did not belief something Osborne stated.

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“He is very calculated. He is very good.”

The sufferer’s stepmother, Vickie Ledford, stated the demise was “essentially the most horrific factor any guardian may undergo.”

Grand Rapids police Lt. William Nowicki, who investigated as a detective in 1999, stated he interviewed Osborne a number of occasions earlier than he confessed. A homeless man had discovered Osborne’s discarded bloody clothes, together with a shirt with a particular image that he was recognized to put on.

“He was a suspect from the very starting however we did not have any proof (implicating Osborne) as much as that time.”

He informed Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Travis Early that Osborne “was relieved having the ability to get that off his chest.”

He stated Osborne was mature for his age.

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