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Man sentenced to only 12 years for murder of a US tourist in Panama

Man sentenced to only 12 years for murder of a US tourist in Panama

An 18-year-old man was sentenced to just 12 years in prison for the robbery, rape, and murder of a US tourist in Panama, Catherine Medalia Johannet, in Bocas del Toro last year.

Johannet, a 23-year-old Colombia University graduate from Scarsdale, New York, was found strangled on a hiking trail on Bastimentos Island on February 5, 2017, three days after she went missing while on vacation in the Caribbean archipelago. Her killer, who was a minor at the time, was captured eight months later in Cayo de Agua.

Bocas del Toro is a popular tourist area and province of Panama that is made up of islands off the Caribbean coast. The main island, Isla Colon, is home to the capital, Bocas Town, a central hub with restaurants, shops, and nightlife.

The Public Ministry announced that it will appeal the decision before the Superior Court for Children and Adolescents, given the seriousness of the crimes.

In the United States, minors who commit adult crimes, such as rape, robbery, and murder, usually fall into a less severe sentencing scheme than adults. Like some other countries, America tends to believe those who commit crimes may be rehabilitated.

In Germany, it is thought that long prison sentences do more damage to young people. The longest sentence a minor can get in Germany is 10 years, even for the crime of murder. The correction system here believes the young should have another chance at living a proper life.


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