St. Louis Circuit Attorny urging lawmakers to clarify juvenile sentencing laws

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce wants people to call state lawmakers about a broken law concerning juveniles that is harming the families of murder victims. For three years now a Missouri law concerning juveniles convicted of murder has been out of compliance according to the U.S. Supreme Court. This has resulted into murder victim’s families have to go through the same trial twice.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce says, “This is causing a lot of grief for families around Missouri this of uncertainty."

Case in point, convicted murderer Ledale Nathan. He was 16 when he and an accomplice killed Gina Stallis and wounded two others during a 2009 home invasion. Nathan was convicted in January 2012 and at the time, under Missouri law, the jury had only one choice in sentencing Nathan, an automatic life sentence. But in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court declared automatic life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional. So Nathan was retried a second time, a second time the victims’ families relived the horror of that night.

Joyce wants lawmakers to fix the law to help the families. The Missouri legislature is currently considering a bill that would clarify Missouri’s laws regarding sentences for murderers who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes.

“I don’t think they realize the excruciating pain that they’re putting murder victims’ families in.”

Joyce has put the issue on her website hoping people take note and call their representative or senator.

It’s estimated there are about 80 families in the Show Me State who are affected by the law.

In the second trial, Nathan received three life sentences and 45 more years. In Missouri, a life sentence is 30 years in prison. After 75 years, Nathan could be eligible for parole.