Last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that anyone who was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole as a juvenile must have his case reviewed and either be resentenced or given an opportunity for parole. (The inmate doesn’t necessarily have to be paroled, but must be given a hearing and an opportunity to make his case.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on how that ruling will affect eight juvenile killers who were sentenced under the state’s “heinous crimes” statute.
The article begins on a sympathetic note:
When Prentis Cordell Jackson learned in 2006 that he would never again know freedom, the convicted murderer, then 17, felt a lot of different things. Numb. Angry. Sad.
“I was old enough to go spend the rest of my life in prison, but I wasn’t old enough to go buy a pack of cigarettes,” he said during an interview last spring at Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility.
More to the point, he was old enough to murder a 15-year-old boy in what the Star Tribune describes as a “gang slaying.”
The other Minnesota convict interviewed for the story is Brian Flowers:
Flowers, who also was interviewed in prison last spring, said when the first of the Supreme Court decisions was handed down in 2012, he felt his prayers were answered. Flowers believes he deserves to be released. Asked when, he pauses.
“I’ve thought about it, but I can’t tell you I deserve to get out tomorrow. I’m not gonna sit here and say that because I don’t know. But I know I deserve to get out one day soon,” he said.
Flowers was convicted in 2009. Does he deserve to be released from prison “one day soon”? This is how the Star Tribune describes his crime:
He and another teenager, Stafon Thompson, stabbed a woman more than 100 times as her 10-year-old son watched, then killed the boy by smashing a TV onto his head.
The facts are actually a little grimmer than that, as this contemporaneous news story reveals. Flowers may get a hearing, but I doubt that he will be seeing the outside of a prison in the foreseeable future. I hope not, anyway.