Oral arguments before the Supreme Court today weighed the issue of where to draw the line on how young is too young for juvenile offenders to be eligible for a sentence of life without parole, with the case of Arkansas’s Kuntrell Jackson front and center.
Jackson was just 14 years old in 1999 when he was involved in the robbery of a Blytheville video store in which clerk Laurie Troup was killed with a sawed-off shotgun. Jackson later told police that he was “the lookout” for the robbery, but was convicted as an accomplice and sentenced to life without parole. The 15-year-old who admitted to being the shooter eventually plead guilty and was given a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.
Currently, only 79 inmates in the U.S. are sentenced to life without parole for a crime committed when they were 14 or younger.