Five in Oregon serving 'true life' for juvenile crimes

They include 'Redmond 5' shooter Seth Koch

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Offenders given true-life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles have gained a glimmer of hope they might someday be released.

Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have made clear that only juvenile offenders deemed irreparably corrupt should have no chance for parole.

But an Associated Press review has found the gate of freedom slow to open, including in Oregon.

Since the rulings, Oregon has resentenced one man who had been given life without parole for a killing committed as a youth.

Court records show Oregon still has five men serving true-life sentences for crimes committed as minors.

The five are: Michael George of Curry County, Patrick Harned of Clatsop County, Seth Koch of Deschutes County, Dustin Wallace of Douglas County and Jaime Tinoco of Washington County.

Koch was 15 at the time of the 2001 brutal murder of Barbara Thomas at her home on the Old Bend-Redmond Highway -- and was the one found guilty of fatally shooting her.

Koch, Justin Link and the victim's son, Adam Thomas, were sentenced to life without parole.  Two girls also involved in the crimes, Lucretia Karle and Ashley Summers, received 25-year sentences.

In the fall of 2016, Link was resentenced to life in prison after another court hearing and testimony, this time with the possibility of parole in 15 years, as he will have served a total of 30 years at that time.

Another seven Oregon inmates who committed serious crimes as juveniles are serving de facto life sentences because they're ineligible for release until they are over 65. The most prominent is Thurston High School shooter Kip Kinkel.

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