Battle Creek Murderer Goes From Life To Chance Of Parole
A convicted murderer from Battle Creek is now looking at the potential of being granted parole following an original sentence of life in prison while he was a teenager. A Battle Creek Circuit Court Judge is implementing a new sentence following court hearings this week.
45 year old Thomas Krause II had been serving a sentence of life without parole. But following mandates from the United States and Michigan Supreme Courts, regarding juvenile offenders, his sentence was reduced to 40-60 years, and now allows the potential for him to seek parole. The High Courts have ruled that life sentences without parole for young violent offenders is unconstitutional because it is cruel and unusual punishment.
Krause was one of three teenagers convicted in the April ,1991, strangulation death of Christa Ferree. She was a 17 year old Harper Creek High School student whose body was found dumped along a rural Oklahoma road. Krause, Brad Warner, and John Loepke killed her in Battle Creek so they could steal her car and drive to California. All three were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Lincoln noted during the hearings that "Juveniles should be sentenced to a term of years - except for the rare juvenile offender who exhibits such irretrievable depravity that rehabilitation is impossible." The judge found that Krause exhibited a generally good 28-year prison record and was making efforts to change his life and so he did not fit that description.
During the sentencing, Krause admitted to full responsibility for the crime, "…that led to the callous and senseless death of Christa Ferree. I deeply regret not only her pain but the pain I caused to her family, friends and the entire community." Krause told the court he doesn't deserve parole but would like a second chance. Ferree's mother, Sharon Ford, was in the courtroom. In a statement read to the court, she said "my whole family has never been the same since my daughter was murdered.to show he has changed." The two accomplices of Krause have already seen their sentences from the case similarly reduced.