In a Supreme Court ruling made public today, the justices have ruled that it's unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole for murder.

The high court says it is unconstitutional to send a child to prison for the rest of their life with no chance of ever getting out.  It was a 5 to 4 decision.  Lafayette mother Jean Cantrell, who lost her child due to a violent crime perpetrated by minor, says she is upset, sad and nauseous that the United State Supreme Justices would rule this way.  Cantrell had this to say to KPEL: (click below)

Cantrell says the Supreme Court's decision is beyond sad.  She says she and many other victims' rights advocates across the state of Louisiana have fought in the Legislature for years to try to prevent state lawmakers from passing legislation that would allow for convicted killers, sentenced to life in prison, the ability to be eligible for parole.  Cantrell says now, all those efforts were worthless.

In the case of Cantrell's daughter, the crime was terrible.  Cantrell says she had just strapped her younger child into a stroller to take that child for a walk around the block.  When she was gone, Cantrell says her daughter's attacker broke into her home to rob it.  She says her 13-year-old daughter was at home and interrupted the robbery.  The daughter yelled at the 15-year-old to leave her house, fought back, but was ultimately strangled to death.  Cantrell says her daughter's killer should not get out of jail.  Here is what she has to say: (click below)

Cantrell's daughter was brutally murdered in Lafayette back in 2002.  One of her cousins points out that, "In Louisiana, only AFTER a proper adjudication hearing to determine mental capacity and severity of the crime, a 15 or 16 year old can be tried as an adult. In 2004, my cousin's murderer was found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder by a jury, thus the mandatory life sentence without benefit of parole, as per Louisiana statutes."  He adds, "Over the past several years, my family and other victims' rights advocates have fought and continued to defeat attempts by Baton Rouge and New Orleans area legislators who proposed bills to grant these murderers parole eligibility after serving only 15 or 16 years in prison."
Both are not sure if the court's ruling is going to be retro-active.  Does this mean families will have to endure parole hearings the rest of their lives?  Cantrell wonders.  She says it all just brings up terrible memories, and the thought that her daughter's killer could be eligible for parole makes her very upset.  Cantrell says she thought at least this part of the pain was over.  She figured her daughter's killer would never be allowed to be eligible for parole, and would have to serve his whole sentence.