JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A new sentencing hearing has been ordered for a New Jersey man originally sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in a stabbing death that occurred when he was a teenager.
NJ.com reports that an appeals court said Monday that the original sentencing of 21-year-old Devante Dormena didn't take into account a key mitigating factor in the November 2017 stabbing death of 30-year-old Jose Malave in Jersey City.
Dormena, who was initially charged with murder, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and faced up to 10 years in prison. His attorney had argued for a four-year sentence, but the appeals court said he failed to argue for mitigation on the grounds that the young defendant was substantially influenced by a “more mature" person.
Dormena was 17 at the time of the slaying and his co-defendant, who authorities said stabbed the victim, was 19 years old.
The appeals court said prosecutors may be correct in their contention that the mitigating factor wasn't applicable because the defendant wasn't substantially influenced by a more mature person, but “the judge did not explicitly make such findings, even though he remarked that defendant was and is young.”
Malave, a father of 11, was found in the doorway of his Jersey City apartment. Authorities said he was stabbed in front of his 8-year-old son during a confrontation over items taken by members of his family after they were left out on the curb following the eviction of the older defendant.
Dormena is currently eligible for early release in October 2023, according to state Department of Corrections records. His co-defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and is serving a 20-year sentence.