Society

12-Year-Old Paul Henry Gingerich Sentenced to 25 Years for Killing Friend's Stepfather

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Two years ago, a 10-year-old boy was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing his friend's stepfather. 

Paul Henry Gingerich, now 12, is from Enchanted Hills, Indiana. He will not be released from prison until he is 37, and is one of the youngest ever to be tried as an adult.

In April of 2010, he and two of his friends planned to murder one of his friend's stepfather because the friend did not believe he would let them run away.

Gingerich, 15-year-old Colt Lundy and 12-year-old Chase Williams made a plan to run away to Arizona together. They believed the last step to making this happen was to kill Lundy's stepfather, Phil Danner. 

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Lundy gave Gingerich a loaded gun and they both snuck into the house through a window. They sat in armchairs waiting for Danner to enter the room.

Once he did, Gingerich shot him dead.

The other boy, Chase Williams, was sitting outside and refused to be involved in the murder. 

Documents indicate Gingerich was simply going along with the older boy's orders. 

A court in December threw out Gingerich's guilty plea and sentence, as they said the juvenile court judge rushed in his decision to give it to an adult court. 

An appellate court ordered a new hearing to see if Gingerich could be considered a juvenile. But if the court decides that he should be retried as an adult, he faces an even tougher sentence of 65 years incarceration, meaning he would not get out until he is 77 years old.

For now, he is set to spend the next three years in a juvenile facility before he is transferred to Indiana's adult prison system.

Monica Foster, his attorney, is frightened for the boy to enter the prison as it is notoriously tough.

"You really can't appreciate just how horrific the adult prison system is unless you've been there. For the last 30 years I've been in and out of the adult prison system in the State of Indiana and I wouldn't let my dog go there for a week, much less a 12-year-old kid," she said. 

Gingerich was described by his teachers as a good student who was rarely in trouble. In the juvenile prison, Gingerich is maintaining his same behavior, as teachers say he is one of the most well-behaved in the institution.

He hopes that by getting good grades he will be able to obtain a good job once he is released. 

"I believe I have matured faster than other kids my age," he said. "I'm starting to think before I act more and not be so impulsive. Now I'm more grateful for what I have."

Sources: Daily Mail, Mirror