Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 24, 2014

Judge reinstates Schwander's sentence


A city police investigation determined she died from multiple stab wounds from a pair of scissors and perhaps remained alive for up to an hour. Authorities found Carly's body two weeks later, on the eve of her 17th birthday, buried under a sand pile.

Rodgers listed the "depravity" of Schwander's crime -- whether stabbing Carly or strangling her -- as one of six reasons to justify a departure from the typical 13- to 22-year minimum sentence. He pointed the courtroom's attention to a clock and used the 30 seconds it would take for Carly to become unconscious to vividly describe her struggle for air.

"And as we hit there," he said as clock's second hand marked 30 seconds, "she's unconscious."

Rodgers declined to put the audience through the additional two minutes it would take for Carly to die from strangulation. He said Schwander's version of the facts still gave a long enough time for a reasonable man to give his actions a "second look."

"What you actually did -- stab her to death and sit there a half an hour and watch her bleeding, lung punctured, gurgling, with blood and foam coming out of her mouth -- clearly was adequate time to give a reasonable man the interval to reflect upon his actions," Rodgers said.

Rodgers believed the evidence could justify a sentence of 50 to 75 years, but acknowledged the court of appeals likely would find it "retributive." He said he trusted his reinstatement of the original sentence was now adequately explained.

Schwander's attorney Craig Elhart said he was not surprised at the ruling, but praised Rodgers for his thorough reasoning. He "absolutely" expects Schwander to appeal the sentence, but said he won't represent Schwander in future court hearings.

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