OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned the life without parole sentence of a killer who was a juvenile at the time of the crime.
The court ruled Thursday that a district court was wrong not to vacate the sentence of 41-year-old Robert Stevens, who was 17 when he helped kidnap and fatally shoot Johnny Lawrence in Canadian County in 1994.
Stevens was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to avoid a possible death sentence.
Stevens appealed the sentence in 2017 based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that juveniles can’t be sentenced to life without parole unless found to be incapable of rehabilitation.
Gov. Mary Fallin hasn’t made a decision yet on a bill that ensures juveniles can still receive a life-without-parole sentence.