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  • Posted January 6, 2014 by
    Asheville, North Carolina

    Sentenced to Six Life Sentences for Theft at a House Party

    In 2006, 15-year-old Matthew Olson was given the longest prison sentence ever given to a teenager for a crime other than murder. He was sentenced to an incredible six life sentences plus an additional 118 years (you know, just in case he outlived the first six lifers) in prison for his role in a 2006 house theft.

    In the theft, 15-year-old Olson and two 18 year old accomplices stole cell phones, cash, and marijuana from a local house party. The boys were quickly detained by police and charged with their crimes.

    The 18 year olds accepted plea deals that landed them only 10 and 13 years in jail. Olson rejected his plea deal at the time, and as a result the judge handed him an infinitely more harsh sentence.

    Olson has been serving time in Wallens Ridge State Prison since 2007. Now, almost seven years later, Olson and his attorney are appealing his sentence. They are arguing that his punishment is far more severe than the crime, especially given that the other two teens who committed the crime with him are serving only a fraction of the time Olson is. The appeal is being sent to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in hopes that he will pardon Olson before leaving office.

    “There is no arguing that the crime committed was trivial,” the appeal reads. “What is arguable is the fact that, out of the three individuals who committed the crime, only one person will die in prison.”

    The letter adds that the young Olson was “naive and unduly influenced by the boys.”

    Virginia governors are allowed to grant conditional pardons to prisoners. As part of Olson’s conditional pardon appeal, he agrees to meet any conditions Gov. McDonnell sees fit.

    When asked for a comment on Olson’s appeal, Gov. McDonnell’s office only said the request is “working its way through the normal process."
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