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A state prison inmate will get no break from a Pennsylvania appellate court for taking part in the murder of Ray Diener, a humanitarian killed on his front porch during a random robbery in 2007.
Emru Kebede, now 29, is one of four individuals convicted in Diener’s murder.
Kebede is seeking a new trial and challenges the legality of the sentence.
The group selected Diener at random as a robbery target, stopping at Diener’s West Donegal Township home after seeing him through an illuminated window.
All four males went to Diener’s front door and lured him outside with a request for a cellphone. Diener was shot three times.
Kebede was 16 at the time of the murder. He was prosecuted as an adult, convicted at trial of second-degree murder, and originally sentenced to life without parole.
Kebede was re-sentenced in 2018 – to 30 years to life - after a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision deemed unconstitutional the automatic imposition of life-without-parole sentences against juveniles convicted of first- or second-degree murder.
Kebede challenged the conviction and sentence, arguing (among other things) his sentence was “illegal,” and that the jury should have been allowed to consider his role in the killing as involuntary manslaughter.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Wednesday denied those requests, meaning Kebede’s parole hearing will happen no sooner than 2037.
Abraham Sanchez was sentenced to death for torturing Diener before shooting him.
Kebede was within three feet of Diener during the confrontation. Kebede and the other defendants all wore gloves for the crime, but no masks - indicating they did not want to leave fingerprints or a living witness.
Northwest Regional police filed charges.
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