Teen sentenced to life in Pontiac double-murder

PONTIAC (AP) -- A Pontiac teenager was ordered last Thursday to spend life in prison for killing two women last year over a bogus $10 bill.

Semaj Moran, 17, was sentenced in Oakland County Circuit Court along with his adult accomplice, Arnold Howard, who was given a 39-to-90-year sentence.

Moran was found guilty in February of first-degree murder and Howard, 23, was found guilty of second-degree murder.

Loretta Fournier and Luann Robinson were shot to death in February 2012 at the home they shared in Pontiac because the then-15-year-old Moran was upset that he was given a fake $10 bill in exchange for marijuana, police and prosecutors have said.

Moran's lawyer, William Mitchell, said last Thursday his client likely will be eligible for parole someday because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional to send juveniles to life in prison without parole.

Judge Denise Langford Morris sentenced Moran following statements from attorneys on both sides, as well as family members of both victims.

When asked by Assistant Prosecutor Kelli Megyesi for clarification on the sentence, Morris said she was "not speaking on parole."

"That's for the parole board to decide," the judge said. "I'm saying life. Period."

Mitchell said Moran had a difficult upbringing, including a father who was not really in his life, a mother who could not attend his sentencing because she was in prison and an incident when he was 2 years old in which he fatally shot his younger brother after being left unsupervised in a room with a loaded gun.

Before he was sentenced, Moran gave a tearful apology to the victims' families and to his own.

"I hope you will one day be able to forgive me," he said. "Everyone makes mistakes, and I know I made one. If I could take all of it back, I would.

"But there's no way. It's done."

Published: Mon, Jul 29, 2013