Lawmakers Weigh Parole For Young Murder Convicts

May 14, 2014 11:15 PM
Lawmakers Weigh Parole For Young Murder Convicts
" BOSTON (AP) — Ryan Downing was 16 when his mother was stabbed and slashed nearly 100 times in her Somerville home. Now, he says, court rulings are forcing his family to relive the horror and face the prospect her convicted killer could someday go free.

Downing was among the relatives of murder victims who went to the Statehouse on Wednesday to urge a legislative committee to approve a bill that would require juveniles convicted of first-degree murder to serve at least 35 years before they can be eligible for parole.

The measure is one of several filed in response to recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is unconstitutional. The decisions have forced lawmakers to re-examine the state’s current law, which requires life without parole for juveniles who were tried as adults and convicted of first-degree murder.

A former altar boy was convicted of killing Downing’s mother, Janet Downing, when he was 15 "

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