Man serving life without parole for shooting rampage in his teens receives lighter sentence after SCOTUS ruling

A Michigan man who was sentenced as a teen to life in prison in 2008 on several charges, including murder, was resentenced Wednesday thanks to a Supreme Court ruling.

The high court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional when applied to juvenile defendants.

Thanks to this ruling, convicted killer Odies Murray, now 33, has had his sentence reduced from life to only 40 to 60 years tops.

(Source: Michigan Department of Corrections)

As a result, Murray will now be eligible for parole by 2048. Meanwhile, both of his victims remain dead.

“Murray was convicted in June 2008 for the Aug. 27, 2007, shootings of Tyres Sykes, 19, and Walter Revera, 31, at the 500 block of Ada Street in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood,” according to MLive.com.

“Sykes was shot in the jaw and Revera in the neck and back. Sykes died two months after the shooting at a Kalamazoo hospital and Revera remained in a vegetative state until his death in December 2010 at a Coldwater nursing home,” MLive.com notes.

It’s believed the shootings were prompted by “the spilling of a slushie drink and a series of ‘scuffles.'”

Local prosecutors reportedly weren’t pleased by Murray’s sentence being reduced.

“Murray has not done anything in prison to show he has the chance of rehabilitation, Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Ken Barnard said. A new case against Murray is pending in Ionia County where he allegedly assaulted prison staff,” according to MLive.com.

Even the judge presiding over the case, Kalamazoo County Circuit Chief Judge Gary Giguere Jr., seemed doubtful that cutting Murray a break — as required by the Supreme Court’s ruling — would engender anything positive.

“Murray was a danger to society at the time of his first sentencing and his actions in prison show he has not changed, Giguere said. He said he has doubts Murray will become less of a danger as he continues to age,” according to MLove.com

Carmelita Revera, the mother of deceased victim Walter Revera, also wasn’t pleased by her son’s killer being resentenced.

“I come to you as a mother, daughter, auntie and citizen. Notice I did not say as a grandmother and or great grandmother, because my one and only child’s life was heinously taken by Odies Murray,” she said in a letter read during Murray’s resentencing.

“Although it has been 12 years since my son, Walter Revera, or Tito, was taken from me, I still expect him to come through the door with a smile, wrap his loving arms around me and kiss me on my cheek,” the letter continued.

Murray for his part reportedly took “full responsibility for his actions and apologized to the families during the resentencing.”

“I did a terrible thing, though. Like, there’s nothing I can do to change it. … It’s f–ked up because I’m gonna get a chance at life, but obviously I took two lives for basically nothing,” he said.

Amazingly, Murray also has a now-defunct GoFundMe page that he established in 2020 to raise money for a “competent counsel” to help him get his sentence changed.

“Now almost 13 years after the crime I am eligible for a resentencing hearing, where the judge can decide to give me a term of years anywhere between 25-40 years or life without parole again. I am asking the world for their support in helping me retain competent counsel to resolve this matter. I am not a monster even though I did a monstrous act when I was younger. I can’t be be defined by the worst thing I ever did,” the GoFundMe reads:

As seen above, he also has his own Twitter account. It’s not clear what organization is running both the Twitter and GoFundMe accounts.

What’s known is that he was, at some point, also part of some prisoner pen pal program:

Murray’s resentencing comes only three months after another young murderer, Troy Shelvin, now 51, was resentenced to life but with the chance of parole.

“On Aug. 23, 15th Judicial District Court Judge Kristian Earles re-sentenced Shelvin to life imprisonment with the option for parole in the death of Kerry Jones. Shelvin attended the hearing via Zoom,” The Advocate reported in September.

“Shelvin’s original sentence of life without parole was vacated by the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in 2017 in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana in 2012 and 2016, respectively,” according to the Louisiana-based newspaper.

Shelvin’s crime occurred in 1988 when he and two friends hit the town “for a night of fun” but a fight broke out between them and several grown men.

“[A]mid the fighting Shelvin took out a handgun and fired off a few shots, striking Jones in the chest,” The Advocate notes.

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Vivek Saxena

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