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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Ind. Decisions - "Ind. court upholds life sentence for teen killer"

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Andrew Conley v. State of Indiana (ILB summary here) is the subject of long story today by Charles Wilson of the AP. A few quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a sentence of life without parole for a teenager who said he wanted to be like the fictional television serial killer Dexter a few weeks before strangling his 10-year-old brother.

Andrew Conley was 17 in November 2009 when he killed his brother, Conner, while wrestling in their home near Rising Sun and dumped the boy's body in a park. He unexpectedly pleaded guilty in September 2010, averting a murder trial.

In the 3-2 ruling, the justices said Conley acted "as if nothing was out of the ordinary" after the killing. According to testimony during the five-day sentencing hearing, Conley joked with his mother and watched football the day after he killed Conner. * * *

The U.S. Supreme Court in June threw out mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for juveniles, but left open the possibility that individual judges could sentence juveniles to life without parole in individual cases of murder.

The Indiana justices noted that the high court's decision dealt only with mandatory sentences, not those issued at a judge's discretion. They found "no abuse of discretion" in Ohio County Circuit Court Judge James Humphrey decision.

"The heinous facts of this crime are difficult to comprehend," they said. * * *

The two justices who dissented in Tuesday's ruling, Robert Rucker and Frank Sullivan, cited the teen's age when arguing that he shouldn't have been sentenced to die in prison.

"There is no question that juveniles have developmental issues that reduce their culpability for crimes," Rucker wrote.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 1, 2012 10:40 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions