Osceola convicted murderer may have sentence re-examined

November 3, 2016

By John Raffel

An Osceola County man convicted nearly 30 years ago of first-degree murder and felony firearms for the murder of his father could have his sentence re-examined at a future court hearing.

Osceola County prosecutor Tyler Thompson confirmed last week to the Marion Press that in July, he filed a motion stating his intention to uphold the life without parole conviction for Karl Strunk. Strunk was convicted of the crime on Dec. 17 1987, when he was 17, and a month later was sentenced in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Published reports reveal that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012 concluded that juveniles should no longer face the possibility of mandatory life sentences. Four years later in another Supreme Court case, justices ruled that the 2012 decision should apply retroactively to those already in prison.
Published reports indicate that Strunk’s sentence is only to be reviewed following the court decision and any decision determining his release or continued imprisonment would have to be made by the court system.

Published reports added that Strunk testified during his trial that he shot his father twice. The body of 43-year-old Rudi Strunk of LeRoy was found stuffed into a 55-gallon steel drum, which had been welded shut. His son Karl Strunk, 16, at the time, was arrested and charged.

“At some time in the future, it will be set for a court hearing but there is no status at this point in time,” Thompson said. “It’s a very complex, complicated issue as far as the courts are concerned as far as timing and everything on how it all comes together. The current status is there will be a court hearing at some yet to be determined date in the future.

“The next court hearing will likely be a status hearing. It’s a brand new issue. There’s quite a few counties dealing with that issue. We only have one. It’s a very heavy issue. He has a defense attorney appointed by the state.”

In an unrelated matter, Thompson has been appointed probate judge and will assume that position in late November.

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