JEFFERSON CITY • The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of an inmate who, at 16, killed a St. Louis mother of two and wounded an off-duty city police officer and a firefighter.
Lawyers for Ledale Nathan Jr., now 24, had argued that Nathan's prison sentence of eight consecutive life sentences, plus 120 years, violated a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said automatic life sentences without parole were unconstitutional for juveniles, even if they were tried as an adult.
Attorney William Swift argued that the length of the combined sentences and the ineligibility of Nathan for parole for 75 years was unconstitutional.
But in a 4-3 decision the court said, "The Supreme Court has never suggested that multiple sentences for multiple crimes is impermissible." They also said that the judge in the case had considered all the circumstances before sentencing Nathan.
The court unanimously rejected Nathan's claim that prosecutors hadn't turned over all the evidence in his case.
Nathan was 16 on Oct. 5, 2009, when he and an accomplice broke into the LaSalle park neighborhood home of Gina Stallis, 34, and her family.
He was originally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of murder and 25 other charges. But his sentence was reversed and he was resentenced in 2014 on second-degree murder and other charges.
Nathan's case was one of three opinions released Tuesday that touched on the sentencing of men who committed crimes as juveniles. Only one appeal was successful, that of Jason Carr, who was convicted in 1983 of the murder of his brother, stepmother and stepsister.