SAGINAW, MI – At just 17, Mark L. Reedy entered a Saginaw convenience store intending to rob it with his friend and ended up fatally shooting its clerk. In the aftermath, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life, without the chance of parole, in prison.
After nearly 10,000 days behind bars for his crime, the now-44-year-old Reedy was resentenced to a term that could see him being released from prison in the near future.
Reedy on Aug. 14, 1991, entered Glenwood Market, 3267 Glenwood, with 16-year-old Lacy L. Oliver. Both teens wore scarves on their faces and planned to rob the store.
During the crime, Reedy shot 36-year-old clerk Monroe Deshazier twice, wounds he succumbed to 10 days later.
Reedy and Oliver made off with $700.
Police arrested Reedy on March 11, 1992. A jury convicted him of first-degree murder and related charges, for which he received a sentence of life without parole on Sept. 3, 1992.
In Michigan, a conviction of first-degree murder comes with a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The resentencing results from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruling that mandatory life sentences for those 17 and younger is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
In 2014, Gov. Rick Snyder gave judges the discretion to sentence teen killers to life in prison or 25 to more than 60 years in prison to comply with the Supreme Court decision. Then, in a 6-3 decision in 2016, the nation’s highest court ruled its 2012 decision applied retroactively.
Since his arrest, Reedy has been incarcerated for 9,779 days, or 26 years, nine months, and eight days as of Wednesday, Dec. 19, the day he appeared before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Andre R. Borrello for resentencing.
The judge ended up sentencing Reedy to 27.5 to 60 years in prison. The Michigan Department of Corrections will now determine if and when to parole or discharge Reedy once he has finished serving the rest of his minimum time, of which he has less than a year.
On hearing his new sentence, the shackled Reedy hung his head, apparently overcome with emotion.
Before Borrello imposed the new sentence, defense attorney Laura Kathleen Sutton provided context for Reedy’s background and lauded his conduct within the prison walls.
“Mr. Reedy’s sentencing gives this court really a rare opportunity to impose a sentence based not only on Mark’s attributes at the time of the offense, but also take into account here and now and what an individual he has become over 25 years later,” Sutton said. She said he grew up in a dysfunctional family, suffered physical abuse, and was himself shot in the head when he was riding in a car at age 16.
“He was a teenager who reacted to his environment by carrying a gun,” Sutton said. “Mark Reedy grew up in prison. He decided to become the best man he could be, and took concrete steps toward that end. He took those steps on his own.”
She described Reedy as an “outgoing and friendly person” who has earned the reputation of a peacemaker in prison and has taken numerous self-help and educational programs.
“He’s earned the respect of not only his fellow inmates but also correctional officials as well,” she said. “He’s shown himself, I believe, to be redeemable.”
Given the chance to speak himself, Reedy was philosophical, expressing contrition and sorrow for the murder he committed.
“I’m going through a bunch of mixed emotions,” he told the judge. “Sometimes I feel I’m not even supposed to be in this position. I took somebody’s life. I know my lawyer said that I’ve proved myself to be redeemable, but with all the stuff I accomplished in prison, it means nothing. I took a man’s life. I just want to make the court know that I accept full responsibility for my actions and the pain and hurt it caused my victim’s family, my family, my community. I’m ashamed, I’m embarrassed. I’m pretty much disgusted in how I behaved as a human with no regard for life.”
He said the maturity he gained in prison has given him the abilities to empathize and communicate with others.
“I enrolled in self-help programs to better myself and learned a deeper appreciation for humanity,” Reedy said. “One of my main goals is to help others.”
He added he is “forever mindful that my victim’s family has spent 27 years without their loved one. His life wasn’t in vain. I’m the man I am today because of it.”
Borrello, citing studies that show youths’ brains aren’t fully developed until their mid-20s, asked Reedy what changed to make him begin taking responsibility and bettering himself.
Reedy replied the death of his mother 18 years ago was something of a wake-up call for him.
“I knew she didn’t want this for me and I didn’t want it for myself,” he said.
Borrello then asked Reedy if he knew his victim, Deshazier.
“I met him maybe a couple of times, vaguely, but from what I know of him, he was a good man,” Reedy said. “He didn’t deserve it.”
Borrello also had Reedy recount how the crime occurred, with Reedy stating he shot Deshazier twice after his cohort, Oliver, scuffled with him as Oliver tried accessing the cash register.
Addressing the judge after Reedy, Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Hoover said that often in resentencings of juvenile lifers, the concept of the victim gets lost. To Reedy’s credit, he’s the first such prisoner she’s seen who spoke of his victim.
“Mr. Reedy’s saving grace in this case,” Hoover said, “is that he has done quite well for himself while he’s been in prison. Certainly his remorse is very compelling. It’s a lot different on paper than it is to see and hear it, and I appreciate that.
“At end of the day,” she continued, “a life was still taken, and Mr. Reedy was the one who took it. That’s certainly something deserving of an extremely stern punishment.”
Before imposing the new sentence, Borrello spoke at length about how he arrived at the new term.
While the judge described Reedy’s crime as heinous and violent, he credited him for turning his life around himself, especially when he had no prospect of ever leaving prison.
“He had nowhere to go,” Borrello said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk into an institution and think, ‘I’m never getting out, ever. I’m never going to live in society as I know it. This is my home for the rest of my life.’ Faced with that grim future, I gotta tell ya, I don’t know how you did it, but you made the best of what you did there.
“I believe you have spent a great amount of time learning and actually being rehabilitated,” Borrello told Reedy. “That does not mean I take lightly the fact that a person has died by your hand.”
After the judge read the sentence aloud and as a Michigan Department of Corrections correctional officer led Reedy from the courtroom, Borrello offered him some more words of encouragement.
“Sir, I appreciate what you’ve done with your life,” he said. “I wish you luck in your future endeavors.”
Oliver, Reedy’s codefendant, eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and related charges and in January 1993 was sentenced to 18 to 30 years in prison. The Michigan Department of Corrections discharged him from parole on Oct. 24, 2018 at age 43.