Out of curiosity, let me ask two questions.
Question 1. If you're the parents, which sentence would you prefer?
A. Long murder sentence or death penalty or whatever - essentially remove the murderer from society.
B. Intermediate sentence for manslaughter or some lesser murder charge - call it five years - but with blood money payments to you for the rest of his life. (Assume something like $7,000 a year for discussion's sake, maybe 20% of his gross salary if he's joe sixpack murderer.)
C. Short sentence for manslaughter - call it 1 year - but with blood money payments to you for the rest of his life. (Assume something like $15,000 a year for discussion's sake, maybe 40% of his gross salary if he's joe sixpack murderer.)
Question 2. What sentence should society in general prefer from the ones above?
These cases always interest me. Is the guy dangerous? Obviously he is to 17 year-old black kids. Should he be in prison forever, or should he earn a living to at least pay something back to the family of the murdered child? It gets down to whether his motive was malice or stupidity.
Either way the kid is dead and what he did was inexcusable, so don't paint me as an apologist for the guy. I can see arguments going both ways, and if I was the parents I'd probably want to see the guy on death row.