The Associated Press reports that a 71-year-old inmate in Louisiana who was a defendant in a case that led to the landmark Supreme Court decision on juvenile offender sentence lengths has been denied parole. Henry Montgomery was convicted of murdering a sheriff’s deputy when he was only 17 years old.
The three-person parole board voted 2 to 1 against parole for Montgomery. He will be able to request parole in two more years again. In order to be granted parole, the decision must be unanimous.
In 2012, the Supreme Court decided that juvenile homicide offenders should not be sentenced to life sentences without the possibility of parole, calling it “cruel and unusual” punishment. The decision was then made retroactive in 2016, deciding that Montgomery should be given the chance for parole.
Montgomery was initially sentenced to death for his crime. The conviction was then overturned in 1966 when the state’s Supreme Court determined he didn’t receive a fair trial. In his second trial, he was again found guilty and sentenced to life without parole.
Montgomery has now served 54 years in prison for shooting deputy Charles Hurt in 1963, just after Montgomery’s 17th birthday, says the AP. Last year, a judge resentenced him to life with the possibility of parole, referring to him as a “model prisoner.”
The hearing was originally scheduled for December 14, but was delayed due to conflicting state laws. One stated that juvenile offenders must face a three-person panel, but another stated that someone convicted of violent crimes must face a five-person panel. The state’s Attorney General determined that Montgomery’s parole should be decided by a three-person panel.
*Photo credit The Associated Press