Excessive Sentence Argument on Second Degree Murder Cases

In Page v. State, 657 P.2d 850 (Alaska App. 1983). court reviewed past second-degree murder sentences and established a benchmark sentencing range for this offense. We concluded that "a first felony offender convicted of second-degree murder should typically receive a sentence of from twenty to thirty years." And, in State v. Krieger, 731 P.2d 592 (Alaska App. 1987) we stated that a person who commits second-degree murder under circumstances approximating first-degree murder may receive an aggravated sentence above the Page benchmark. We have sustained a 99-year sentence for a second-degree murder conviction in several reported cases. We did so in Page. Although convicted of second-degree murder, Page repeatedly stabbed his victim, tied the victim up, and left the victim to die. The superior court found that Page was a worst offender and imposed the maximum 99- year sentence for the second-degree murder conviction. See id. at 854; see also State v. Wortham, 537 P.2d 1117, 1120-21 (Alaska 1975) (worst-offender finding justifies imposition of a maximum term). We affirmed the superior court's worst-offender finding based on Page's conduct when he committed the offense, his extensive criminal record, and his failure at rehabilitation. We also affirmed a 99-year term in Gregory v. State. 689 P.2d 508, 510 (Alaska App. 1984) Gregory shot a stranger in the face at a dance in Holy Cross. This court concluded that the statutory aggravating factors that the superior court found applied to Gregory's sentencing by analogy justified the classification of Gregory as a worst offender. Furthermore, Gregory had a prior felony conviction for assault and had demonstrably poor prospects for rehabilitation. And in Abruska v. State, 705 P.2d 1261 (Alaska App. 1985) we affirmed a 99-year sentence for Abruska's second-degree murder conviction. Abruska shot his victim twice with a .22 caliber rifle after Abruska told the victim to leave his house and the victim did not. The superior court found that Abruska had minimal prospects for rehabilitation, and although he was intoxicated when he committed the unprovoked murder, Abruska had a record of abusive behavior that occurred both when he was intoxicated and when he was not. The superior court concluded that Gregory was a worst offender. We affirmed the worst-offender finding and the sentence. In Ridgely v. State, 739 P.2d 1299 (Alaska App. 1987) Alaska court affirmed a 99-year sentence for the second- degree murder conviction of Bosch, one of Ridgely's co-defendants. Bosch was a juvenile at the time of the offense and had been adjudicated a delinquent for burglary and theft. 28 the superior court concluded that Bosch was as culpable as her co-defendants who were convicted of first-degree murder. We noted that it was "difficult to imagine a more brutal, callous, and gratuitous crime of violence" and concluded that the record supported a worst-offender finding despite Bosch's youth and affirmed Bosch's sentence. Finally, in Ross v. State, 808 P.2d 290 (Alaska App. 1991) the superior court imposed a composite 120-year term for Ross's convictions on two counts of second-degree murder. We remanded the case to the superior court for additional findings to justify the composite 120-year sentence the court imposed, but observed that the trial court's worst-offender finding justified the imposition of a 99-year term. Ross had murdered a mother and daughter by stabbing each more than thirty times. Although young, his troubled background supported the conclusion that he had little chance of rehabilitation.