JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri Supreme Court has ordered new sentencing for two teenagers given life terms without parole for unrelated St. Louis killings.
Ledale Nathan Jr. was charged with a 2009 murder that occurred when he was 16. Laron Hart was 17 when he was charged in a separate 2010 homicide. Both were convicted of first-degree murder.
Missouri’s punishment for first-degree murder is death or life in prison without probation or parole. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that juveniles cannot receive life terms without consideration of individual circumstances that could make the sentence disproportionate.
Missouri’s high court on Tuesday ordered a judge or jury to determine whether life sentences without parole are appropriate for Nathan and Hart. If not, the judgments would be replaced with guilty verdicts for second-degree murder.