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Terminally ill Iowa inmate gets parole for hospice

DES MOINES — A dying Iowa inmate who was 15 when she entered prison will spend her final days in a hospice facility, a state board ruled Tuesday in granting her unprecedented parole.

The Iowa Parole Board’s decision for Kristina Fetters, 33, means she is the first inmate in the state sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile to be released after a landmark US Supreme Court ruling last year.

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The high court said life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles, a ruling that could give 38 Iowa inmates new sentences with a chance at parole.

The board said at the meeting that Fetters, who was diagnosed in September with inoperable stage 4 breast cancer, will be sent to Hospice Care of Central Iowa .

Fetters’s attorney said his client wants to die outside prison walls.

At the meeting, board members debated whether hospice care was the best option after a state oncologist said Fetters had responded to hormone therapy treatment and cancer cells in her bones may have shrunk. But the doctor said her condition probably remains incurable.

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