In northern Texas a judge has declined to dismiss a capital murder charge against a 17-year-old who is accused of killing his mother and sister even though it’s at odds with an important U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Given the key ruling by the nation’s highest court, it’s not surprising that attorneys for Jacob Ryan Evans are asking that capital murder charges are dropped. So far they have been unsuccessful.
A judge is refusing the rule out the ultimate punishment, according to an Associated Press report.
“A U.S. Supreme Court ruling from June barred mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of murder and a previous ruling barred juveniles from being executed, the only two punishment options for capital murder cases in Texas,” reported AP in the Beaumont Enterprise.
In Texas if a defendant is convicted of capital murder he or she automatically gets life without parole if jurors decide against capital punishment or if prosecutors don’t seek the death penalty.
In Parker County in northern Texas, prosecutors were opposed to changing the 17-year-old’s case to lesser charges of murder. They argued “proposed state legislation would create a life sentence with the possibility of parole for capital murder convicts under age 18,” stated the Beaumont Enterprise.
The prosecutors suggested if the bill passes, the Supreme Court rulings might not apply because Evans has not yet been given a trial date.
The 17-year-old has been jailed since his arrest last October in Aledo near Fort Worth. Beaumont Enterprise reported Evans “called 911 and told the operator in a calm, monotone voice that he had just shot his mother and sister multiple times, according to the 25-minute call released by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office.”
In the 2005 decision in Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the execution of defendants who were under 18 at the time of their crimes violates the federal constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishments.
It’s important for teenagers who find themselves facing criminal charged to obtain vigorous legal representation.