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Man who killed deputy loses appeal on life sentences
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Man who killed deputy loses appeal on life sentences

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Wyoming Supreme Court

The Wyoming Supreme Court is seen in this 2017 photo.

CODY (WNE) – A former Cody man convicted of killing a Fremont County Sheriff’s deputy in 1995 has lost his appeal to have his life sentence removed because he wanted to rescind his guilty plea.

John Michael Sides Jr. pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and a 3-5 year consecutive sentence.

Sides was 17 years old when he pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Deputy Steve Crerar. The deputy had been bringing him back to the Wyoming Boys’ School in Worland when Sides was able to remove one of his handcuffs and steal Crerar’s gun, fatally shooting him in the head.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to sentence a minor to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and Sides made an appeal in 2013 to Washakie County district court on the matter.

The court changed his sentence to two concurrent life sentences in 2019. Sides was not allowed to withdraw his guilty plea, however, or address his claim that he was unconstitutionally denied parole by the state Board of Parole.

The Supreme Court also rejected Sides’ appeal from his Carbon County sentence for stabbing a Wyoming State Penitentiary teacher and another inmate after beginning his sentence for Crerar’s murder. From this incident, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted first-degree murder and a consecutive sentence of 6-10 years for aggravated assault and battery.

Sides is now serving a 25-to-life sentence for his Carbon County crimes, which is consecutive to his 25-to-life sentence for his Washakie County crimes, and he is eligible for parole in both.

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