Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larry and Danny Ranes: Serial Killers in the Same Family

Koster

While the Michigan Supreme Court had agreed to hear arguments about Koster's juvenile waiver, no decision about just when that would occur had been made.  In 1975, questions were raised once again regarding the criminal proceedings against him, and his attorney, James Hills, requested a delay in his pleading to the second-degree murder charge.  However, Kalamazoo Circuit Court Judge Patrick McCauley denied the request and ordered a trial to commence in June or July. 

In June, still uncertain about his appeal, Koster offered the guilty plea and on July 25, McCauley sentenced Koster to life in prison with the recommendation that he never be paroled.  He was visibly disappointed.  Just before he was transported to Jackson Prison, he asked a reporter from the Kalamazoo Gazette, "All I ask is that you don't make me look like a hardened criminal when you write the story."  He admitted he had hoped for a term of 15-25 years, but said that even with his life sentence, there was a built-in parole consideration after ten years.

Koster had been a runaway when Ranes had befriended him.  At the age of fifteen, he was "game for anything."  He'd already stolen cars and had committed over a dozen burglaries, so he was out of control and fairly easy for an older man to manipulate.    Even so, he couldn't offer a reason when asked why he had participated in rape and murder on two occasions.  "There's a reason for everything, but I can't pin one on that."

Even as he went off to prison, his appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court was still pending. Some people believed that he wouldn't have graduated to murder had he never crossed paths with Danny Ranes, but others saw him as equally culpable.

 

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