The Sioux County Attorney's office has decided not to appeal a controversial ruling last month that effectively cut 35-Year-Old Rochelle Sapp's sentence in half.
In October of 2014 Sapp was convicted of killing 3-year-old Autumn Elgersma and received two 50 year prison sentences that would run consecutively.
Under Iowa law, the court may reconsider its sentence within one year of the sentencing date and one day prior to the deadline Judge Edward Jacobson unilaterally reconsidered part of the sentence without notifying the County Attorney, Attorney General, or the victim's family. The Judge decided to have Sapp's sentences run concurrently, meaning that her sentence was effectively cut in half.
According to a press release, Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle said that after consulting with the Iowa Attorney General's Office there appears to be no authority to vacate the Judge's decision, and even if the decision were to be vacated it would mean that Sapp would be re-tried for her crimes. Kunstle said that after speaking with the vicitm's family he made the decision not to appeal the decision due to a lack of undesirable outcomes.
In the press release, the Office said that the Judge's decision "Was unprecedented in the State of Iowa in a case involving a victim and, unfortunately, erodes the public's confidence in the legal system undermines any closure for the victims."
The family of Autumn Elgersma says they plan to attend all future parole hearings so the Iowa Parole Board is aware of the impact Sapp's crimes had on them and the community in general.
Currently, the Elgersma family is honoring Autumn by helping start a center in her memory for children who have been abused. To learn more visit www.autumnscenter.org
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.