A man sentenced to decades in prison for the shotgun slaying of a Spokane pizza delivery driver could be set free early.
On a July night in 1992, Daniel Paul Delgado and an accomplice ordered a Domino’s pizza and then lay in wait. When delivery driver Michael Maykowskyj stepped from his car, Delgado opened fire with a shotgun killing the young father and law student.
“He knelt down in the dark and murdered my brother in cold blood,” said Marne Maykowskyj Nordean, the victim’s sister. She thought Delgado would serve 37 years, but because he was 17 years old at the time of the crime, a new law makes him eligible for early release.
Delgado has served 22 years behind bars.
“We’re not asking for a longer sentence, we’re not trying to take anything away from him, we’re asking that justice be served and he stay in jail, ” Maykowskyj Nordean said.
The family of victim will testify at a “community concerns” meeting. Delgado will make his case for release to the ISRB in a separate in-prison hearing.
Delgado is one of approximately 170 Washington inmates serving long sentences in adult prisons for crimes they committed as juveniles. Under the Washington law passed in 2014, all of these inmates are eligible to petition the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board (ISRB) for release after having served at least 20 years. So far 39 have petitioned. Twenty-two of those petitions were denied because of ineligibility, 17 have been approved for a hearing.
The law says the board “shall order the person released” unless there’s “a preponderance of evidence” that the individual will return to a life of crime.
A separate group of 30 juvenile killers who are serving life terms without the possibility of parole in Washington are also now eligible for possible release after 25 years in prison. First, a judge must give them a new, individualized sentence. Then the ISRB schedules them for a release hearing once they’ve served 25 years, unless the person is resentenced to life without parole.
So far, two of these offenders have met the criteria for a hearing – Barry Massey and Michael Harris. The pair was convicted of the 1987 murder of Steilacoom marina owner named Paul Wang. At age 14, Massey became the youngest person in the country sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Massey received his release hearing in March, but the board has not yet issued a decision.
Washington lawmakers made changes to how juvenile killers are treated under the law following a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That case, Miller v. Alabama outlawed mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles. That ruling was driven in large part by recent studies that show the adolescent brain is not fully developed in the area that controls impulses and logical reasoning.
So far, Washington’s ISRB has not released any inmates under the new law. However, a decision is pending in five cases.