Top US court confirms 241-year sentence for youth offender

Top US court confirms 241-year sentence for youth offender

Washington (AFP) – The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the appeal of a man sentenced to 241 years in prison for violent armed robberies committed when he was 16.

The decision confirms the sentence and means that Bobby Bostic, who went on an armed crime spree in St Louis, Missouri, on 12 December 1995, will not be eligible for parole until he is 112 years old.

Bostic and an 18-year-old friend committed a number of armed robberies on the streets of St Louis, including attacking a woman as they stole her car and shooting at a man who was helping deliver Christmas presents to a family in need. The victim was grazed by the bullet. 

Judge Evelyn Baker sentenced Bostic to consecutive sentences for each of the 18 crimes committed on that day, adding up to a total of 241 years in jail, and announcing that he would die in prison. She later said the sentence had been excessive and she regretted handing it down.

In his appeal, Bostic called for a retrial and cited the Eighth Amendment, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.”

In 2010, the Supreme Court banned life sentences for minors who have not committed murder, which would cover Bostic’s case. In 2012, it extended that ruling to cover cases in which homicide was committed, and ruled that the judgment could apply retroactively. 

However, Missouri prosecutors have argued that the law only applies to single crimes that have been committed, and that Bostic was not given a life sentence but rather a series of long prison terms.