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House Passes Prison Options for Juveniles Guilty of Murder

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  JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have endorsed creating new minimum sentences for minors convicted of first-degree murder.

The House voted 145-1 Thursday to approve the new guidelines, which would bring Missouri into line with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for minors were unconstitutional.

Rep. Robert Cornejo said that left Missouri without any valid sentencing options for minors guilty of first-degree murder, so prosecutors can currently only charge minors with second-degree murder.

The new guidelines would add life with parole and 30-40 years in prison to the sentences prosecutors could seek. Life without parole would remain an option if prosecutors prove additional factors, such as torture of the victim.

The bill now goes back to the Senate, which approved different minimum sentences in April.

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