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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Seven years later, the prison sentence remains unsettled in the death of a northern Michigan girl who was stabbed and buried in sand.

The state appeals court says Robert Schwander should return to Grand Traverse County court for a fourth time.

The appeals court this week says judges repeatedly have failed to fully explain why Schwander’s sentence should greatly exceed the guidelines. In 2011, he was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Carly Lewis.

During his third trip to court, he was ordered to serve at least 40 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. But the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, says the punishment was “unreasonable and disproportionate.”

The 24-year-old Schwander will face a third judge. Two others who handled his case have retired.