An Iowa Supreme Court order this week will allow a man convicted as a juvenile in the 1993 murder of a 17-year-old Davenport girl to be resentenced.
The order is the latest legal victory for Jason Means since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that juveniles could not be given life-without-parole sentences for non-homicide crimes. Means, 37, was sentenced to life without parole for first-degree kidnapping for his role in the abduction and murder of Michelle Jensen.
"I saw the ruling," Means' attorney, Angela Fritz Reyes of Davenport, said Wednesday. "We were pleased with the results. I put a phone call into my client to inform him about the decision.
"I assume we will be setting the matter for a sentencing in Scott County, but I haven't had a chance to discuss it with him."
Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said he expected several juvenile cases, including Means' case, would return to Scott County to be resentenced after a recent Supreme Court decision.
"Means' case was already on appeal, so it will be one of the first to address the Supreme Court's new sentencing guidelines for persons convicted of serious crimes committed when they were juveniles," Walton said.
Walton was one of the prosecutors in Means' 1994 jury trial.
"I am very familiar with the horrendous nature of the crimes resulting in the death of 17-year-old Michelle Jensen," he said.
Means was found guilty May 13, 1994, and sentenced later that month to life without parole for first-degree kidnapping plus 95 years, which included 50 years for second-degree murder and other consecutive sentences on lesser charges.
Means was one of six men convicted with Jensen's abduction and murder. Anthony Hoeck also was convicted in the case as a juvenile.
Michelle's body was found Aug. 29, 1993, on a rural Scott County road. She had refused to let the group use her car to commit a robbery.
Her mother, Cheryl Dittmer, couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment.
Merle Dittmer, Michelle's grandmother, answered the telephone, saying the family is in mourning for the 20th anniversary of the death.