Juvenile Justice

Ind. Supreme Court Affirms Life-Without-Parole Sentence for Juvenile Killer

The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a life sentence without parole for a teenager who strangled his little brother, dumped the boy’s body in a park and went on with his life “as if nothing was out of the ordinary,” according to the justices’ ruling.

Andrew Conley was 17 in November 2009 when he killed his 10-year-old brother Conner, whom he was supposed to be babysitting, at their home near Rising Sun, the Associated Press reports.

Conley told police after his arrest that he had fantasized about killing somebody since he was in the eighth grade. He also told his girlfriend a few weeks before the killing that he wanted to be like the fictional TV serial killer “Dexter.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in June threw out mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders, but left open the possibility that individual judges could sentence juvenile offenders to life without parole in individual cases if the circumstances warranted it.

The Indiana court, in a 3-2 ruling (PDF) Tuesday, said that given Conley’s age, his brother’s age, and the “particularly heinous nature” of the crime he committed, a life sentence without parole in this case is appropriate.

The two dissenting judges said they disagreed with the majority’s characterization of Conley as a “hardened character” who is beyond redemption, and would have reduced his sentence to a maximum of 65 years.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.