Lawmakers pass prison options for juveniles guilty of murder
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have endorsed creating new minimum sentences for minors convicted of first-degree murder.
The House voted 145-1 Thursday to approve the new guidelines, and the Senate voted 32-0 to send them to the governor. The legislation would bring Missouri into line with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for minors were unconstitutional.
Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, said that left Missouri without any valid sentencing options for minors guilty of first-degree murder, so prosecutors can currently only charge minors with second-degree murder.
The new guidelines would add life with parole and 30-40 years in prison to the sentences prosecutors could seek. Life without parole would remain an option if prosecutors prove additional factors, such as torture of the victim.