Missouri OKs ending life sentences without parole for minors

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A bill that could mean reduced sentences for minors found guilty of first-degree murder is moving forward in the Missouri House.

The legislation approved 10-1 by a House committee Monday would end the state’s mandatory sentence of life without parole for minors.

Instead, jurors could sentence youths to life in prison with parole or 25 to 40 years behind bars.

The sentences allowed in the bill draft passed Monday differ significantly from what senators approved. Senators supported life without parole or at least 50 years in prison for those ages 16 to 18. Those under 16 would have faced life without parole or at least 35 years.

The bill still needs approval from a second House committee and the full House. Lawmakers face a May 15 deadline to pass legislation.