Man convicted of 1977 murder given new sentence

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A man sentenced to life in prison for murder was given a new sentence on Monday.

Fifty-three-year-old Kelvin Anderson was only 15-years-old when he shot and killed Robert McGinnis during a robbery near 10th and Bancroft in 1977. On Monday, Anderson was resentenced to 82-100 years and will be eligible for parole in three years. He will be eligible for release in 11-12 years.

Anderson had hope after serving 38 years of his life sentence. His attorney argued that Anderson had not intended to use the gun with McGinnis was murdered. He took a guilty plea to save his older brother from a life in prison or the electric chair.

Attorneys argued that Anderson was mentally low-functioning.

"I'm sorry for what happened when I was younger," Anderson told the court on Monday. "I hope the court gives me a chance to prove myself in life."

While the defense told the court that Anderson should be eligible for parole immediately or in the near future, the prosecution argued that he had been involved in other criminal activity and, at the time of the homicide, he had escaped from the Iowa juvenile system.

Prosecutors also argued that Anderson knew they were going to commit a robbery and that he took the gun. They recommended that he be given a number of years that would make him eligible for parole, but that he should be kept in prison.

District Judge Mark Ashford said this case was "a robbery and an assassination" before resentencing Anderson to 82-100 years.

Brenda Beadle of the Douglas County Attorney's Office was happy with the ruling. "We're pleased Judge Ashford considered the facts in the case and look at the face that he was -- the shooter," she said. "I think that 82 years to 100 years is a substantial sentence."

Family members of the man killed said otherwise. Charles McGinnis, the brother of the homicide victim, said, "They should have left it as it stands. It was a murder assassination robbery."

"My brother was my best friend," he said. "We bowled together, we went to a lot of bars together, you know. It's sad. It's just a sad situation."

Anderson headed back to prison after the resentencing on Monday, but the victim's family could go through these painful memories again in three years when Anderson is up for parole.

A 2013 U.S Supreme Court decision mandated it's unconstitutional for juveniles to receive mandatory life sentences without parole. Douglas County prosecutors said there are four more cases that will have to be resentenced as part of the Supreme Court's decision.