Shooter who killed store clerk as teen gets lesser sentence

Aramis Gonzalez III (Lancaster County District Attorney's Office)

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A prison inmate who was 15 years old when he shot and killed a Lancaster store clerk in 1996 will be eligible for a parole hearing in about eight years.

Aramis Gonzalez III, now 37, was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Michael Heath but resentenced Wednesday in Lancaster County Court to 30 years to life. He will be eligible for a parole hearing in 2026.

The resentencing was due to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that deemed mandatory life sentences against juveniles “unconstitutional.”

The district attorney’s office said Gonzalez and three other teens targeted the former Uni-Mart at Duke and Liberty streets. Gonzalez demanded money from Heath then counted to three before shooting the 38-year-old married father.

Prosecutors said since his incarceration in 1997, Gonzalez has been found guilty of 39 misconducts and has been affiliated with the Crips gang. His behavior in prison only improved, they said, when he learned he could have a re-sentencing hearing.

Two co-defendants, Rodney Lee Walton and Anthony Lewis, were resentenced in October to 25 years to life. They’ll have to serve about four more years before parole hearings.

The third co-defendant, Clarence Laudenberger, was resentenced to 21 years to life in prison. He has already served more than 21 years in prison, so his parole hearing could be scheduled at any time.

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