The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the sentence for a teenage gang member convicted of murdering an Australian college baseball player, KFOR reported.
Chancy Luna, along with James Edwards, was charged in 2013 with first-degree murder in the death of Christopher Lane, 22. A third teen, Michael Jones, was charged with accessory after the fact and with driving a vehicle while a weapon was discharged.
Lane was jogging along a residential street in Duncan, Oklahoma in August 2013 when Crips gang member Luna shot him in the back.
Nearly two years after Lane’s death, Luna was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
But attorneys for Luna said in a court filing that the ruling was unconstitutional because it violated the Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment.
When the case went to the appeals court, the court agreed with Luna’s first-degree murder conviction, but also agreed with Luna’s attorneys and rejected the life without parole sentence.
The appeals court found the jury did not consider the “juvenile’s chronological age and its hallmark features – among them immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences” when deciding on Luna’s verdict.
“Obviously we are disappointed, but we always said that part of the situation will have to handle itself and we’ll have to deal with what we have to deal with,” Christopher’s father, Peter Lane, told Australian Associated Press on Friday.
The new sentencing will likely be held before a jury in the same district court where the trial took place, Stephens County District Court. Life without parole is still a possible sentence for Luna.
Edwards, who served as a prosecution witness, received a 25-year jail sentence with 10 years of the sentence suspended.
Jones, who drove the car, was sentenced to life in prison but could be eligible for release after 38 years.