LITTLE ROCK — A man sentenced to life in prison without parole when he was 14 years old deserves a new sentencing hearing, Arkansas’s highest court ruled Thursday.
The state Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Kuntrell Jackson, whose case was one of two that led to a US Supreme Court decision last year throwing out mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles.
“We agree with the state’s concession that Jackson is entitled to the benefit of the Supreme Court’s opinion in his own case,” Justice Josephine Linker Hart wrote in the Arkansas Supreme Court’s unanimous decision.
It is not clear when Jackson’s new hearing will be held, but justices said he may present evidence about his age and the nature of the crime.
Jackson was sentenced to life in prison after the shooting death of a store clerk during an attempted robbery in 1999. Another boy shot the clerk, but Jackson was present.
Jackson is now 27 years old and is serving his sentence at a maximum-security prison in Arkansas.