KCPAO Resentences Four More People with Life Sentences

Since last Friday, our office successfully resentenced four individuals under SB 5164, filing motions to resentence Mr. Michael Peters (Case # 00–1–10284–1), Mr. Rene Haydel (Case #99–1–05616–3), Mr. Raymond Ben (Case #00–1–02907–8), and Mr. Gregory Nelson (Case # 99–1–03487–9). Each man was serving a life sentence — but no longer should be based on recent statewide changes to the law. In each case, the men, who already served more than 20 years of a life sentence on a Robbery 2 charge, were resentenced to time served.

“There are still people from King County who are serving a life sentence even though the State no longer considers one of their strikes — Robbery 2 — to be a strike. If that seems wrong, that’s because it is — and resentencing is the way to fix it.” said Dan Satterberg. “Robbery 2 was the lowest crime on the list of persistent offenses, it was the most common, and also the most racially disproportionate. I’m proud of our work to advocate for legislative changes that made days like today possible, and I’m especially proud of our Sentence Review Unit for seeking and achieving justice in these cases.”

On May 28 our office resentenced the first person in Washington State under SB 5164. Since then, our office has resentenced a total of six people under SB 5164, and will resentence additional people in the weeks to come.

Each man has served more than 20 years in prison as part of a three strikes life sentence based on a Robbery 2 conviction — a charge which is no longer considered a “strike” offense since the enactment of SB 5288 in 2019.

“I just want to go home and be an asset to my community, and live the second half of my life right.” — Gregory Nelson

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office advocated for SB 5164 (you can watch Dan Satterberg’s testimony here), which requires prosecutors to resentence individuals who are serving life without the possibility of parole on a three strikes case involving a Robbery 2 charge. Despite the fact that Robbery 2 is no longer a strike offense statewide, there are still individuals like Mr. Peters, Haydel, Ben, and Nelson who are serving a life sentence based on the old law. Our Sentence Review Unit — the first of its kind in Washington State — is working to undo these extraordinary sentences, which were delivered as a result past-era policies which no longer align with how these cases are handled.

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