Victor Garay was a fifteen year old teenager from Michigan who was convicted of the murder of another teenager. According to court documents a gang rivalry turned violent and the thirteen year old victim was fatally shot in the truck by this teen killer. Initially Victor Garay was sentenced to life without parole however it was later changed to life with the possibility of parole
Victor Garay 2021 Information
Earliest Release Date:LIFE
Assigned Location:Alger Correctional Facility
Maximum Discharge Date:LIFE
Victor Garay Other News
Victor Garay, who was 15 when he shot and killed 13-year-old Michael Day, has a chance at one day leaving prison after a state appellate panel overturned his sentence of life without parole.
The appeals panel noted that the U.S. Supreme Court found the punishment – mandatory for adults convicted of first-degree murder – to be cruel and unusual for juveniles and reserved for the “rare” young offender incapable of reform.
Others face minimums of 25 to 40 years in prison, with the maximum set at 60.
“Because the trial court made an error of law in considering the goals of sentencing a youth when it sentenced defendant to life without parole, and because the trial court did not sentence defendant to life without parole with the understanding that such sentences are reserved for the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption, we reverse defendant’s sentences for life without parole and remand for resentencing,” state Court of Appeals judges Cynthia Stephens, Douglas Shapiro and Michael Gadola ruled.
In sentencing Garay, now 18, Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Alexander C. Lipsey said the teen showed “reckless disregard” for life when he shot Day during a gang dispute.
He hoped to send a strong message to others.
“It needs to be addressed in a way that people understand we are in a community that requires individuals to live cooperatively with each other and not engage in the law of the jungle, and not engage in conduct that may seem like it’s from the movies and, therefore, not real.
“In fact, it is painfully real.”
He said he considered factors in a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said life in prison without parole for juveniles should be reserved for only the worst offenders.
Garay shot the victim on May 26, 2014, in Kalamazoo’s Edison neighborhood.
The neighborhood had two gangs: Trapp Money and the Washington Street Boys. Day was part of the Washington Street Boys while Garay admitted a relationship with Trapp Money, records said.
A day of arguments and fights between the rival gangs culminated with Michael, an eight-grader at Milwood Middle school, being shot in the chest with a shotgun slug while he was in the 1800-block of Race Street.
A jury found Garay guilty of first-degree murder.
Co-defendants Rashad Perez, now 21, and Octavius Snell, now 26, were also charged with first-degree murder. Perez was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Snell was cleared of murder and other serious charges but convicted of firearm possession by a felon and felonious use of a firearm, and sentenced to at least 34 months in prison.
The appeals panel noted that a counselor, Larry Howley, who held a master’s degree in social work and counseled children and adults since 1969, believed Garay had the potential to be rehabilitated.
The trial judge gave little credence to that testimony, the appeals panel said. An assistant Kalamazoo County prosecutor said Garay’s chances at rehabilitation were slim to none.
“In its analysis, the trial court never explained why defendant should be considered one of the rare juvenile offenders whose crimes reflect irreparable corruption,” the appeals judges said.
Lipsey could conceivably re-sentence Garay to life without parole but it “more likely than not” is a disproportionate sentence for a juvenile