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Life Without Parole Okayed for 13-Year Old Killer

On April 15 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for a Washington state 13-year old boy convicted of murder. The state courts had held that the sentence did not violate the eighth amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The case involved Barry Massey, convicted of killing a Tacoma marina owner during a robbery. He was 13 at the time, and accompanied by a 15-year old with a criminal record who allegedly orchestrated the killing. Massey sufferers from a learning disability, had a thirdgrade reading level, and a borderline IQ of 77, and had never been in trouble with the law before his arrest on murder charges.

Massey's attorney wrote that: "One cannot know with any degree of reasonable probability that your of such tender age cannot be rehabilitated."

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