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Man who killed 83-year-old Michigan woman as teen eligible for parole under new guidelines

A Michigan man who killed an 83-year-old retired nurse when he was a teenager will get an opportunity for parole in the years ahead, despite telling a judge that life behind bars seemed appropriate.

Shawn Commire has been serving a life sentence for the death of Rita Salogar of Bay City, who was beaten with hammers and stabbed in 2007. But Commire became eligible for a new shorter term following a series of state and federal court decisions about how minor offenders are punished.

Judge Joseph Sheeran sentenced Commire to a minimum prison term of 40 years, which means he’ll be eligible for release when he’s in his 50s. The state parole board will have discretion to keep him in custody if certain conditions aren’t met.

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“Only you can make it happen. Your brain is fully formed now,” Sheeran said Wednesday, referring to rehabilitation while in prison.

Commire, now 32, was 16 when he and a cousin killed Salogar.

The judge said “no one was ever there” for Commire during a tumultuous childhood of drug use, deep neglect and improper conduct in school.

“That doesn’t mean it was an easy decision,” Sheeran said of the new sentence. “I was and am fully aware of the pain inflicted upon the Salogar family, who has suffered much and long.”

Commire was defiant in court, even refusing to sign documents, MLive.com reported.

“I’d just like to get this over,” he said.

At a hearing in November, Commire told the judge that he didn’t deserve a shorter sentence.

“I feel like it’s unfair to keep putting the (Salogar) family through this,” he said.

The victim’s relatives were unhappy with the new prison term and spoke lovingly of Salogar.

“If you were hungry, she would have fed you,” son David Salogar told Commire. “If you wanted to earn some money, she would have found some chores for you to do around her yard or her house. … You didn’t have to kill her.”

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