Man convicted of killing Albany teen denied youthful offender status


(ALBANY, N.Y.) — The 24-year-old man who was sentenced to 25 years for killing 17-year-old Tyler Rhodes in 2012 has been denied youthful offender status.

Jah-Lah Vanderhorst, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was captured on a cell phone plunging a knife into the chest of Tyler Rhodes in Hoffman Park.

Vanderhorst appeared in Albany County Court on Friday, arguing the acting Supreme Court justice at the time of his case did not afford Vanderhorst the chance to be considered a youthful offender, which allows defendants between the ages of 16 and 19 to plead guilty, serve no more than four years, behind bars and have their cases sealed.

Justice Lynch read his decision on Monday morning, denying Vanderhorst youthful offender status. However, Lynch added that Vanderhorst’s age at the time of the crime should have been given more consideration at the time of sentencing, and re-sentenced Vanderhorst to 12.5 years. The new sentence means Vanderhorst could get out within three years.

On Friday, Vanderhorst apologized, reading a statement saying, “I am not the monster that was portrayed on April 30, 2011.” During the continuation proceeding on Monday, Lynch said he believes Vanderhorst is remorseful.

Outside the courtroom Monday, Vanderhorst’s attorney spoke openly with reporters, saying he was “shocked” by the judge’s decision.

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