Northwest Missouri teen will face reduced murder charge

3 years 1 month 4 weeks ago Saturday, August 22 2015 Aug 22, 2015 Saturday, August 22, 2015 5:12:58 PM CDT August 22, 2015 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. JOSEPH (AP) - A northwest Missouri prosecutor reduced the murder charge against a 16-year-old accused of killing his grandparents.

The St. Joseph News-Press reported that Joseph Johnson is now charged with second-degree murder in the July 4 deaths of 72-year-old James Johnson and his wife, 76-year-old Beverly Johnson. The teen waived the right to a preliminary hearing during a court appearance Friday.

He was charged with first-degree murder, but Buchanan County prosecutor Dwight Scroggins said that statute needs to be fixed. At issue was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state can't seek the death penalty for a juvenile and that in cases involving juveniles there must be an alternative sentence.

Missouri's first-degree murder statute only has one alternative after death and that's life in prison without parole.

 

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