The US Supreme Court in the Spring of 2012 will hear the case of Miller vs Alabama. This is the third time the court has considered punishment for youth–the first time in 2005 in Roper v. Simmons, ending the death penalty for youths who commit murder as minors; the second time was in 2010 in Graham v. Florida, ending life-without-parole for those who commit non-homicide crimes as minors.
The cases are Miller v. Alabama (docket 10-9646) and Jackson v. Hobbs (10-9647); the Court granted review of the two separately, but said that it will hear oral arguments in them back-to-back. Those hearings are likely to be in late February, with the decision before next summer.
In the Alabama case, Evan James Miller, above in foreground, was convicted of killing a neighbor in Country Life Trailer Court near the town of Speake in the rural, north-central part of the state. In July 2003, Miller and another youth had been drinking with Miller’s 52-year-old neighbor, Cole Cannon, when a fight broke out. Miller was later convicted of beating Cannon so severely that he could not get up from the floor, and died of inhaling smoke after Miller had set fire to the trailer, apparently to cover up evidence of the crime. Read the story in the Decatur Daily News here.
Here is the Murderpedia entry on this offender.
The victim’s family sends NOVJL this copy of the attempt by convicted murderer Nathan Boyd to obtain sentencing relief from his life sentence for murder.
Richard Sharp Shelton, 17
Mr. Shelton was the son of the housekeeper of his victim, Jerry Burt, a beloved father who was brutally murdered by Mr. Shelton and a 20 year old nephew of Mr. Burt. Mr. Shelton is now asking, of course, for a new sentence – he does not want to serve the life sentence he earned for this murder.
Christopher Michael Thrasher
HOOVER, AL (WBRC) – Relatives of a murder victim from Oneonta continue their fight this week. They are fighting to keep one of their loved one’s killers behind bars.
It has been nearly 19 years since 15-year-old Allen Eakes and 14-year old Kevin Duncan were assaulted with a baseball bat and left to drown near the Shades Creek Bridge off Highway 150 in Hoover.
Three men were convicted in the killings and one of them, Nathan Gast, has a parole hearing this week. Allen Eakes’s brother and sister will be at the hearing to fight the parole petition.
With the holidays approaching, the possibility of Gast going free is even more troubling. “Because we miss him, and we know he would be here, and his children would be here, that’s hard,” said Eddie Eakes, the victim’s brother. “All we have to do is go visit his tombstone and grave. That’s all we have to remember him by.”
Nathan Gast’s parole hearing is set for Tuesday. His last opportunity for parole in 2001 was denied.
Carvin Stargell and Christopher Thrasher are serving life sentences without parole for their part in the killings.