On Monday July 24, 2017, Kempis Songster, was resentenced from life in prison without the chance for parole to 30 years to life in prison. Kempis has served 30 years of his original sentence. This new sentence means he will be eligible for parole and potential release later this year.
Annie Ruhnke of YSRP and Kempis (pictured left) worked together to submit a mitigation report to the Court that shared information about Kempis, his childhood in Trinidad and then Brooklyn, and how he came to Philadelphia as a teenager. The report also included information about his transformative years in prison which includes earning a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University, organizing workshops for fathers in prison, and networking far and wide with advocates for juvenile lifers, as well as his plans for the future.
Kempis has the support of a loving family, many friends, and institutions that are ready and willing to support him upon his release. During the court proceedings, Kempis took full responsibility for his role in the crime and expressed sincere and heartfelt remorse for his actions when he was 15 years old that led to the tragic loss of another teenager’s life, Anjo Pryce.
Anjo’s father and sister were present in court and served as a powerful reminder of what the loss of Anjo has meant for them.
YSRP worked with a dedicated team of pro bono attorneys at Cozen O’Connor on this case led by Doug Fox, who has represented Kempis pro bono for 12 years. Read more about the resentencing hearing here.