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Spader's sentence: It mustn't be undone

Steven Spader, the remorseless ring leader of the 2009 murder of Mont Vernon's Kimberly Cates, was a month shy of his 18th birthday when he murdered a defenseless mother in her sleep and tried to kill her daughter. But for that month, he would rot in prison for the rest of his life. The U.S. Supreme Court, though, ruled last year that minors cannot be given mandatory life sentences without parole. So Spader's sentence is up for review.

The review hearing took place on Monday. Spader did not come to court to contest his sentence, but he released a statement of apology. David Cates, Kimberly's widower, rightly dismissed it as an insult. Attorneys for the state dismissed it as well and recounted for the judge why Spader has to remain behind bars.

The reason is simple: He is a psychopath. He is one who is incapable of empathy, who told a state psychiatrist, "I never felt remorse. I think it is weak - not so much weak, as unnecessary."

New Hampshire can be thankful that it has public prosecutors in the Attorney General's office who are not swayed by the manipulations of murdering psychopaths. We trust that Judge Gillian L. Abramson, who is to rule on Spader's sentence by Friday, is equally steadfast.


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