Juvenile lifer gets second chance at freedom 30 years later

Michael Lehman was sentenced to life at 14, freed at 44.


In June 1988, Michael Lehman was the lookout for a crime in York, Pennsylvania. A crime that left Kwame Beatty, a 23-year-old youth counselor, dead.


Four men who lived at the group home where Kwame Beatty worked were arrested for his murder, including Lehman. After he was convicted, Lehman was sentenced to life in prison. He was just 14-years-old.

He fully expected to live out the rest of his life behind bars, until a 2012 Supreme Court ruling found that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole were unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. Nationwide, these so-called "juvie lifers" had their cases re-examined. Pennsylvania, alone, had over 500. Michael Lehman was one of them. And in 2018, he was released.

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Read More: Project CommUNITY - Juvenile Lifers: The Long Road to Redemption