Woman sentenced to life in prison at 16 wins shot at parole

Jennifer Pruitt was sentenced to life in prison without parole when she was just 16 years old. She was convicted of murder.

Recently, though, a judge reduced the time Pruitt, now 41 years old, will now have to serve.

"Considering all the evidence presented and the arguments that have been made, it is the order of this court that the defendant be sentenced to 30 years to 60 years in the Michigan Department of Correction, with credit for 849 days served," Oakland County Circuit Judge Martha Anderson said Thursday. 

The deadly stabbing of 75-year-old Elmer Heichel back in 1992 that put Pruitt behind bars. In a planned armed robbery, Pruitt - who knew the elderly man and gained his trust - did nothing to stop his murder.

"To wait 24 years to apologize; 24 years to admit that you were the cause of his death by taking him there; why now?" a family member wants to know.

Some family members have written letters to the judge, with many believeing Pruitt never deserved a life sentence. Many of Heichel's grandchildren, though, still do.

"He trusted the defendant with his life - and his life was taken. It was brutally taken and it devastated our family severely. We had to live each day knowing that he was murdered and it basically destroyed our life," said another family member.

Anderson says the 30- to 40-year resentencing is based on Pruitt's behavior behind bars, those letters and her family background. Pruitt may now be eligible for parole in 2022.

Meanwhile, Heichel's family members will try to heal old wounds that have reopened.