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Man, 23, gets life without parole for murder of elderly couple in their West Michigan home


GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — A 23-year-old man convicted of first-degree murder for killing an elderly couple in their Grand Rapids-area home before stealing their car has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Javonte Higgins received the mandatory penalty under Michigan law. Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock called the killings "a tragic nightmare" for the victims, their family and the community before issuing the sentence Thursday.

Neither Higgins nor the victims' relatives spoke before the sentencing.

Eighty-one-year-old David Bouwman and 80-year-old Vivian Bouwman were shot in their Kentwood home in January 2013. Police say they discovered the couple's burned-out gold Cadillac DeVille in neighboring Wyoming, which led them to find the killings.

A jury convicted Higgins on March 12. Defense attorney Valerie Foster says she'll appeal based on trial errors.

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