Spader won't ask court to reduce life sentence in deadly Mont Vernon home invasion
MANCHESTER - The former Brookline man convicted of killing a Mont Vernon nurse and maiming her daughter in a random 2009 home invasion today waived his right to seek a lesser sentence under a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Steven Spader, 21, voluntarily chose not to appear in Hillsborough County Superior Court for the re-sentencing hearing and instructed defense attorneys Jonathan Cohen and Andrew Winters of Concord not to present a case on his behalf.
Cohen read a statement written by Spader that explained his reason to not fight his sentence and included an apology to the Cates and others he said he hurt.
I chose not to try to slip by on some technicality. Instead, I chose to accept responsibility for my actions and for the decision that I have made, Cohen read Spader's letter aloud in the courtroom where David Cates and his daughter, Jaimie, 14, sat in the front spectators row.
Through my impulsive actions, I have harmed numerous individuals...torn apart families and ruined lives. No amount of words can affect the damage I have cause. I must beg forgiveness, Cohen continued reading from the statement handwritten on a white sheet of lined loose leaf paper.
To the Cates family, I know my words hold no meaning, but I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused you, Cohen continued.
Kimberly Cates, 42, was hacked and stabbed to death and then 11-year-old daughter, Jaime, maimed and left for dead in a bedside ambush by Spader, then 17, and his accomplice Christopher Gribble, then 21. Jaimie survived by playing dead and calling 911 for help.
After the 45-minute hearing, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin said David Cates found Spader's statement insulting.
It was the first time Spader apologized to the Cates family for the 2009 home invasion and murder, he said.
Spader was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for the murder of Kimberly Cates, plus 76 years for the attempted murder of her daughter and other convictions. He was found guilty in Nov. 2010.
The U.S. Supreme Court last June ruled in Miller vs. Alabama that mandatory life sentences without chance of parole for juveniles are unconstitutional. The court found mandatory life sentences without chance of parole violated the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
The ruling does not bar courts from still imposing a life sentence without parole, but requires a hearing at which mitigating and aggravating evidence can be presented.
Both the state and defense agreed Spader was entitled to a re-sentencing hearing under the Miller decision since his case had yet to be heard under direct appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Strelzin said Spader's role as the ringleader of the 2009 home invasion, the premeditation involved and an expert psychological testing done last 2012 makes it clear that Spader has no remorse, would not benefit from rehabilitation and likely would commit further criminal acts if not imprisoned.
This isn't someone who is going to grow out of his problems. His problem is he is a psychopath. That is what he is. It isn't a phase.And that's why he has no remorse, Strelzin told Judge Gillian L. Abramson.
Abramson said she would issue her order with regard to Spader's sentencing under guidelines of Miller vs. Alabama on Friday.
This is the first case in New Hampshire in which a juvenile defendant sought a reduced sentence under the Supreme Court decision.