New prosecutor contemplates new hearing for Strunk

By John Raffel
Correspondent

New Osceola County prosecuting attorney Tony Badovinac expects to see a lot of challenging cases.

But one his most challenging battles could come when an Osceola County man convicted nearly 30 years ago of first-degree murder and felony firearms for the murder of his father could have his sentence re-examined at a future court hearing.

In November, then Osceola County prosecutor Tyler Thompson confirmed to the Marion Press that in July, he filed a motion stating his intention to uphold the life without parole conviction for Karl Strunk. Strunk was convicted of the crime on Dec. 17 1987, when he was 17, and a month later he was sentenced in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Thompson later assumed his newly appointed role as probate judge and was later replaced by Badovinac.

“Things are kind of quiet,” Badovinac said of his first several days in the office, “except we have a juvenile who was convicted of first degree murder and as a result, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. That’s probably going to come up for a hearing to determine whether or not the judge lessens that sentence.”

Karl Strunk

Karl Strunk

Published reports previously revealed that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012 concluded that juveniles should no longer face the possibility of mandatory life sentences. Four years later in another Supreme Court case, justices ruled that the 2012 decision should apply retroactively to those already in prison.

Published reports indicate that Strunk’s sentence is only to be reviewed following the court decision and any decision determining his release or continued imprisonment would have to be made by the court system.

Published reports added that Strunk testified during his trial that he shot his father twice. The body of 43-year-old Rudi Strunk of LeRoy was found stuffed into a 55-gallon steel drum, which had been welded shut. Karl Strunk, 16, at the time, was arrested and charged.

The hearing, Badovinac, said, will be in Reed City at Osceola County’s circuit court.

“I don’t think it’s been set yet,” he said. “It took all this time but finally, he gets his day in court depending whether or not he’s been rehabilitated or not to be let out.”

Badovinac noted that a couple of court cases had dealt with a violation of the Eighth Amendment on cruel and unusual punishment concerning life sentences for juveniles without parole. “What was said is these juveniles are young and you just just can’t make that blanket statement. ‘You have to consider the circumstances on who they are,’” Badovinac said. “That opened the door for all these juveniles that had been convicted and sentenced from that to appeal and have the judge take another look at it and decide what they’ll do.”

A state appellate defender will handle the case on Strunk’s behalf, Badovinac indicated.

Badovinac said he hasn’t made up his mind yet on how he’ll handle the case.

“I have to take a look at where he’s at and what he’s been doing, and that’s what I’ve been working at,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”



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One Response to New prosecutor contemplates new hearing for Strunk

  1. Rhonda Costello Reply

    October 30, 2017 at 1:33 am

    I would like to speak in behalf of Karl Strunk.
    Karl and I dated back in the day I was 15 or 16 years of age.
    Karl came to dinner at my house with my parents and showed great respect
    To us all. Him and I have kept in contact with each other through the
    Years and have kept each other in our prayers together
    I believe Karl has made peace within him self with the situation of his case.
    I feel Karl has served his sentence and has to live with the horrifying moment
    The rest of his life.
    Please consider him a new man who wants to live life as a human man.
    Thank you and God bless and prayers to you in making such a considering judgement.

    Thank you,
    Rhonda Costello

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