Convicted Osceola murderer now eligible for parole after 30 years

January 11, 2018

By John Raffel

Almost 30 years to the day of being sentenced to life in prison for a murder in Osceola County, with no chance of being released, Karl Strunk has now been declared eligible for parole.

In 1987, Strunk, who was 16 years old, was charged for shooting and killing his father. He was convicted by a jury of first degree murder.

“In 1988 Karl was sentenced to prison for life without the possibility of parole,” Osceola County prosecuting attorney Tony Badovinac said in a statement. “He has been imprisoned since that time. The law at that time required that he spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole because he was convicted of first degree murder and he was under 18 years of age at the time. It was known as the JLWP (Juvenile Life Without Parole) law.

“That law, which required life without parole for certain crimes,. changed in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v Alabama that sentencing juveniles who committed murders to life in prison without the possibility of parole violated the 8th amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.”

Karl Strunk

Karl Strunk

Badovinac added in his statement:

“The Court went on to hold that unless a prosecutor could prove that a convicted and sentenced juvenile was ‘irreparably corrupt’ or permanently incorrigible’ that such a juvenile was entitled to be re-sentenced by a judge and that the judge would be required to impose a term of years sentence which would mean that the possibility of parole existed after the juvenile spent a number of years. the number of years to be determined by the judge. in prison. In Michigan that possible sentence is 25 to 40 years as a minimum and 60 years as a maximum.”

Badovinac said Strunk was the only convicted JLWP in Osceola County, eligible for sentencing review, and was given that opportunity at a re-sentencing hearing recently and he is now able to request or ask for parole from prison.

The hearing was in December art Osceola County’s circuit court and Badovinac said judge Scott Hill-Kennedy ruled Strunk “had to serve a minimum of 32 years, after which he becomes eligible for parole. He is subject to a 60-year maximum sentence for his crime.’

On Feb. 9, 1987, the body of Rudy Strunk, 43, a machinist from LeRoy was found in a 55-gallon steel drum which was welded shut. According for court records, he had been shot to death. Karl Strunk, 16 at the time, was convicted of the crime.

“At the re-sentencing hearing Karl Strunk, his mother, his defense attorney and a former prison counselor all testified as to their opinion as to what should happen to Karl and why. The prosecutor who tried and convicted him indicated, by letter, that Karl should be paroled. All were in favor of parole,” Badovinac said in his statement. “(I) noted that the records showed that Karl Strunk was a model prisoner and that he had done all he could while in prison to atone for his crime but also urged the judge to look at the facts of the crime and to take into consideration the fact that Strunk had acted alone when he shot and killed his father, that he was not acting under the influence of any controlled substances, nor was he under peer pressure and that an innocent life was taken.”

Badovinac said the judge “read voluminous paperwork in support of and not in support of a potential term of years sentence before he pronounced the 32-top 60 year sentence.”

As a result, Badovinac confirmed Strunk would be eligible for parole and his next hearing will be before the parole board. Badovinac called it one of the most moving experiences he has ever been a part of in his nearly 30 years of law practice.

“The law has recently become more forgiving in a number of areas. We now have sobriety courts, domestic violence courts, veterans courts, drug courts, and all of those courts are attempts to lessen the penalty associated with criminal activity while trying to address the causation of the criminal behavior not just treating the symptoms,” Badovinac said in his statement. “It is common for the law to change occasionally just like individuals who grow older and their opinions change.”

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