GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than two decades after he murdered a fellow teen and desecrated his body, a judge has again sentenced Federico "Kiko" Cruz to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that mandatory life sentences could not be applied to minors, Cruz was granted a new sentencing hearing. His attorneys asked that his sentence be reduced to a specific term of years.
In court Wednesday, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber described the gruesome 1996 murder of 17-year-old David Crawford in the Sparta area. Cruz beat him to death, then cut his head off and mutilated it while recording himself. The video was so disturbing it wasn't shown to the jury that convicted him of murder.
Cruz was 16 at the time.
Earlier this week, he told Leiber that he had been molested by a cousin as a child, a trauma that set him down the wrong path and led him to fall in with a bad crowd and start doing drugs. He said at the time, he believed he could communicate with demons.
Now 39 and having spent more than half his life in prison, he said he has been rehabilitated.
But in handing down his decision, Leiber said Cruz's progress, including working toward a degree in ministry from Calvin College, does not mitigate that he is a sociopath.