By Justin Strawser
SUNBURY — Convicted teenaged killer Norman Gundrum Jr. will be resentenced in October in Northumberland County Court.
The 42-year-old Gundrum, who was sentenced to life without parole in 1995, and defense attorney Joseph D’Andrea appeared in front of Judge Paige Rosini during a status conference on Monday. Rosini scheduled the two-day resentencing hearing for Oct. 2 and 3.
“It looks like we are ready to go,” said Rosini. “There are no major outstanding issues.”
D’Andrea said it is “better to be safe than sorry” by scheduling two days for the hearing.
He and Assistant District Attorney Robyn Zenzinger, the lead prosecutor in the case, said any minor issues can be addressed before the hearing in October.
The Post-Conviction Relief Act appeal is made possible a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gives Gundrum and more than 2,100 other inmates who committed murders as teenagers the opportunity to seek parole or a new sentence. The Supreme Court’s ruling expanded a 2012 decision involving a 14-year-old boy that claimed mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Until that ruling, it was unclear whether the decision was retroactive to juveniles already serving life sentences.
Gundrum, who was 15 years old when he fatally stabbed a friend in Milton in 1993, is incarcerated at SCI-Coal Township.
He was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in 1995, and was sentenced as an adult to life in prison without parole. A felony count of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of making an offensive weapon were not considered.
Gundrum is not Northumberland County’s only teen killer eligible to take advantage of the new ruling. Brandon Brown, who was 15 years old when he kidnapped, raped and killed his 6-year-old neighbor in Coal Township in 2001, also filed a similar appeal through the Post-Conviction Relief Act. He has no scheduled upcoming hearings.
Brown, now age 33 and incarcerated at SCI-Forest in Marienville, was convicted in 2003, and was sentenced as an adult to a life sentence for first-degree homicide and a consecutive term of 17 to 70 years for two counts of kidnapping and two counts of rape.
Two counts of aggravated assault were merged with the murder charge for sentencing purposes. Seven other charges were not considered.
The body of 6-year-old Jasmine Stoud was recovered Aug. 12, 2001, along an old mining road near her home in Shamokin. Her skull had been fractured in several places by a rock found nearby. Jasmine’s DNA was detected on Brown’s body and clothing.
In another appeal for a Post Conviction Relief Act not related to a juvenile committing a crime, convicted killer and death row inmate Brentt M. Sherwood is scheduled to appear in front of Northumberland County Senior Judge Harold F. Woelfel Jr. at 1:15 p.m. May 15 in Jury Room 1. An evidentiary hearing is also scheduled for Feb 10, 2010.
Sherwood, 39, was convicted 12 years ago of beating his 4½-year-old stepdaughter to death. Sherwood, a former Northumberland resident, was sentenced to death in May 2007 after a Northumberland County jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the December 2004 beating death of his 4½-year-old stepdaughter, Marlee Reed. During the trial, Sherwood admitted punching and kicking the child repeatedly in their Northumberland home, but claimed he was high on cocaine and did not mean to kill her.