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Bryce Perkins, center, was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 5, 2009, shooting death of Daniel Gueringer, a Marine home on leave. (American Press Archives)

Bryce Perkins, center, was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 5, 2009, shooting death of Daniel Gueringer, a Marine home on leave. (American Press Archives)

Appeals court affirms life sentence for Bryce Perkins

Last Modified: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 7:54 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

An appeals court has affirmed the life sentence of a man convicted of killing a Marine at a party on July 5, 2009.

Bryce Perkins, 27, was convicted in February 2011 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Daniel Gueringer.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal announced its decision Wednesday in an opinion written by Judge John E. Conery.

At Perkins’ sentencing in April 2011, Judge Ron Ware reduced the charge to manslaughter, saying Perkins did not have specific intent to kill Gueringer and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

But the 3rd Circuit reinstated the second-degree murder conviction, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Perkins’ attorneys appealed the life sentence as being excessive. In order to show that a mandatory life sentence was unconstitutional, Perkins would have had to prove unusual circumstances put him outside the Legislature’s intention of the sentence, Conery said.

“Defendant has failed to make any showing that he is ‘exceptional’ in a way that renders his sentences excessive under the discussed jurisprudence,” Conery wrote. “His brief merely alludes to his youth.”

The 3rd Circuit did find an error with the sentence, calling it “illegally lenient” because it was not imposed at hard labor. The appeals court “will not correct an illegally lenient sentence, unless it is raised as an error on appeal,” Conery wrote.

Posted By: jas On: 11/7/2013

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