Court: Judges can give juvenile killers life with chance of parole

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday saying state judges can give juvenile killers sentences of life with the possibility of parole.

The court also set out a number of factors judges could use in determining whether to sentence a juvenile convicted of a capital crime to life with or without parole.

The ruling came in response to requests by two teens – Rashad Stoves and Larry Henderson - charged with capital murder in two Jefferson County cases who sought have their indictments dismissed because of a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stoves was indicted on capital murder charges in the January 2012 shooting deaths of five men at a house in the Ensley Highlands neighborhood of Birmingham. Henderson is charged in the June 6, 2010 shooting death of a 69-year-old man in Ensley.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled juveniles could not be sentenced to death, so that left judges with only the option of sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole. But in the case of Miller v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 that mandatory life without the possibility of parole also was unconstitutional.

While judges can still impose life without parole sentences on juveniles, the judges must consider options, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

A bill that would have provided judges with the option of giving a life sentence with one chance at parole after 40 years died in the state Legislature.

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