Dying Iowa inmate released from prison to hospice

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A dying 33-year-old Iowa inmate who was sentenced to life in prison as a teenager was on Tuesday taken into hospice care, after the Iowa Parole Board granted her a compassionate release from prison on Dec. 3.

Kristina Fetters was diagnosed with Stage 4 inoperable breast cancer in September, when she was imprisoned at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville. Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said she has been admitted to a Des Moines hospice facility, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1iTmYov ).

Fetters was 15 when she entered prison for a 1995 first-degree murder conviction in the death of her great-aunt in 1994. Her parole makes her the first inmate in the state sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile to be released.

Polk County District Court Judge Douglas Staskal resentenced Fetters for parole eligibility because of her declining health, a move made possible by a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year that said life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. The ruling has positioned dozens of Iowa inmates to resentencing with a chance at parole.

Fetters has been assigned a parole officer who will monitor her condition. The board said it will revisit Fetters’ case if her condition improves. A state oncologist said Fetters had responded to hormone therapy treatment and cancer cells in her bones may have shrunk. But the doctor said her condition likely remains incurable.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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