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LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court has granted a request by the state to reverse a lower court's ruling that a juvenile sentenced to life in prison without parole for a West Memphis capital murder get a new sentencing hearing.

The high court on Thursday didn't rule out that Ulonzo Gordon's sentence could eventually be changed, but Justice Karen R. Baker wrote in a unanimous ruling that proper steps weren't followed at the trial court level.

Gordon and two co-defendants were convicted of killing Otis Webster, 21, on Jan. 28, 1995, in Crittenden County, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported. When Gordon was charged, prosecutors thought he was 18 at the time of the killing but the defense says his birth certificate shows he was 17.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional for juveniles to be given long sentences without the possibility of parole.

The lower court is to conduct new proceedings.

Information for this article was contributed by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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  • Redbone430
    May 16, 2014 at 4:47 p.m.

    In my opinion everyone that was sentenced to life without parole as teenagers should receive new hearings so that people can here the whole story. As a children we do things that we shouldn't or get blamed for things that are out of our control. being given life without parole is harsh on more than one level because we are not given these men a chance to show how they have changed since being incarcerated for so long. Some of these men can have productive lives if given the chance.