In a decision publicly released Thursday, the South Dakota Supreme Court said a circuit judge didn’t act improperly in giving a long prison sentence to a teenager convicted of second-degree murder that he committed at age 17.
The state’s high court found unanimously that Carlos Quevedo didn’t show that his 90-year sentence by Circuit Judge Heidi Linngren was grossly disproportionate.
Quevedo pleaded guilty to stabbing to death Kasie Lord, a Rapid City convenience store clerk who was trying to stop him and an accomplice from stealing beer. He was high and drunk at the time. He would be eligible for parole at age 62 for the January 18, 2017, crime.
“Quevedo brutally killed Lord by stabbing her 38 times to facilitate the theft of a case of beer. After initially stabbing her in the convenience store, he pursued Lord to the parking lot and continued his knife attack, leaving her bleeding to death on the pavement. The circumstances suggest a high level of aggression and gratuitous violence. As the circuit court observed, Quevedo made the deliberate choice to pursue Lord, repeatedly stabbing her long after Grady had left with the beer,” Justice Mark Salter wrote.
According to a store surveillance tape, the justice noted, “Quevedo can be heard saying, ‘Shut the f— up, b—–.’”
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 2012 decision known as Miller held that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile homicide offenders violate the Eighth Amendment.
Wrote Salter, “Here, Quevedo pled guilty to second-degree murder, which would have required a mandatory life sentence if he had been 18 at the time of the offense. However, (the Miller decision) prohibits the imposition of a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. The record here demonstrates that the circuit court was aware of this sentencing restriction and correctly perceived the limits of its sentencing authority when it considered Quevedo’s sentence.”