State Senate passes prison options for kids guilty of murder

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri Senate has passed a bill to change a state law that requires a lifetime in prison for those younger than 16 who are convicted of first-degree murder.

Senators voted 29-3 on Tuesday in favor of the measure. It’s aimed at addressing a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for minors are unconstitutional.

The bill would allow jurors to continue sentencing those under 18 to a lifetime in prison without parole, but it also gives them less severe options.

Those under 16 could be sentenced to at least 35 years in prison without parole.

Jurors could sentence those between 16 and 18 years old to at least 50 years behind bars, which opponents have said likely means those minors would serve a lifetime in prison.

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