life sentence

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Man: My Life Sentence Is Done Because I've Already Died

Benjamin Schreiber's heart stopped 4 years ago, but 2 courts aren't buying his claim

(Newser) - A prisoner in Iowa serving a life sentence for murder says he has fulfilled that life sentence and should be released—because he "died" in 2015 while in the hospital, meaning the life that his original life sentence was based on ended four years ago. The Des Moines Register... More »

Man to Be Freed After Serving 36 Years for Stealing $50

Alabama man was sentenced to life without parole

(Newser) - An Alabama man who has served close to 36 years in prison for robbing a bakery with a pocket knife will be free within days. Alvin Kennard was 22 when he was sentenced to life without parole for the 1983 crime, in which nobody was injured and he made off... More »

Judge: If I Could Legally Have You Castrated, I Would

Ryan Alden gets life plus 150 years for secretly planting cameras in people's homes

(Newser) - "If the law allowed me to have you castrated, I would." So said a judge Wednesday in explaining why Ryan Alden would get life behind bars plus nearly 150 years, the Oklahoman reports. The 39-year-old Oklahoma man, who hid cameras in people's homes, had pleaded guilty to... More »

Germany's Serial Killer Nurse Learns His Fate

It's another life sentence for Niels Hoegel

(Newser) - A former nurse has been confirmed as Germany's most prolific serial killer since World War II with his conviction of the murders of 85 patients. "The human mind capitulates in the face of the sheer number of deeds," Judge Sebastian Bührmann said Thursday in handing Niels... More »

After 23 Years, Man Freed From Sentence for Joyriding

He got life under Calif.'s old '3 strikes' law

(Newser) - A California man was freed from prison after serving 23 years of his life sentence on a joyriding conviction, including eight years in solitary confinement for possessing a banned book. His attorneys say it's unconscionable that he was set to die in prison for nonviolent crimes. Kenneth Oliver, now... More »

Man Who Tossed Daughter Off Bridge Learns His Fate

A Florida jury sentences John Jonchuck

(Newser) - A Florida jury on Tuesday found a man guilty of first-degree murder for dropping his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge four years ago, despite arguments from his attorneys that he was insane and thought his actions would actually save her, the AP reports. He was automatically sentenced to life in... More »

'Gun-Toting' Doctor Gets Life After Patient Dies

Steven Henson is accused of unlawfully distributing prescription drugs

(Newser) - The courtroom gasped. The accused showed no emotion. The judge made his ruling clear: Kansas doctor Steven Henson was getting life in prison for distributing prescription drugs that took a patient's life, NBC News reports. Found guilty in October on charges including conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs outside a... More »

Inmate Serving Life Made Twisted Attempt to Get Death

Denver Simmons offers up a motive in AP interview

(Newser) - One by one, Denver Simmons recalled, he and his partner lured inmates into his cell. William Scruggs was promised cookies; Jimmy Ham thought he was coming to snort some crushed pills. Over the course of about a half-hour, four men accepted Simmons' hospitality. None of them made it out alive.... More »

Notorious Virginia Criminal's Life Sentences Are Tossed

DC sniper Lee Boyd Malvo will receive a new sentencing hearing

(Newser) - A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings. In his ruling, US District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk said Malvo is entitled to new sentencing hearings after... More »

Klansman Who Killed 4 Girls Up for Parole

Thomas Blanton has served only 15 years for deadly 1963 church bombing

(Newser) - A Ku Klux Klan member currently serving four life sentences in Alabama for murdering four black girls in 1963 is up for parole after serving only 15 years, AL.com reports. Thomas Blanton was convicted in 2001 of planting a bomb outside a Birmingham Baptist church that killed an 11-year-old... More »

After 9th DWI, Houston Guy Gets Life in the Slammer

Donald Middleton's Texas driver's license was still valid when he was busted the 9th time

(Newser) - Donald Middleton of Texas has been gathering DWI convictions since Ronald Reagan was first elected president, and with nine to his name, he's now been sent to prison for life, per the Houston Chronicle . Montgomery County Judge Kathleen Hamilton issued the sentence to the 56-year-old Houston man on Tuesday... More »

Sentenced to Life at 14, What He Did on First Day Out

Barry Massey was youngest in America sentenced to life without parole

(Newser) - Exactly one month ago, 42-year-old Barry Massey walked out of a Washington state prison. It's a day that may very well have never come. At age 14, Massey became the youngest American at the time to be sentenced to life without parole; as a 13-year-old, he and a teen... More »

Texas Man Gets Life in Prison for Drunk Driving

It was his 10th conviction

(Newser) - A judge concerned about public safety sentenced a 62-year-old North Texas man to life in prison for his 10th drunken driving conviction since the 1980s. Ivy Ray Eberhardt of Weatherford, Texas, was sentenced Wednesday. Eberhardt would be eligible for parole after serving 15 years. "Part of my job is... More »

He Was Handed Life in Prison for Pot; Now He's Free

Jeff Mizanskey: 'It's like a dream come true'

(Newser) - After 21 years behind bars, served as part of a life sentence for three marijuana convictions, one of Missouri's rarest inmates will finally walk out of prison. Jeff Mizanskey —sentenced to life without parole in 1994—will be greeted by family members as he leaves Jefferson City Correctional... More »

Judge Sentences Holmes, Defends 'the System'

Holmes formally sentenced to life in prison

(Newser) - James Holmes was an angry quitter who gave up on life and turned his hatred into murder and mayhem against innocent victims in a Colorado movie theater, the judge said today before formally sentencing him to life in prison. "It is almost impossible to comprehend how a human being... More »

One of Missouri's Rarest Inmates Has Shot at Freedom

Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for two decades over non-violent pot offenses

(Newser) - As of this year, Jeff Mizanskey, 62, was two decades into a life sentence "without the possibility of parole" for nonviolent marijuana offenses—something so rare there was no one like him in Missouri and only a handful across the US. Then, after a highly publicized campaign led by... More »

Pope Francis: Let's Abolish Life Sentences

They are nothing more than a 'hidden death penalty,' he says

(Newser) - That Pope Francis spoke out today against capital punishment is no big surprise. But he made headlines by coming out against life sentences as well, reports the Guardian . In a speech to the International Association of Penal Law, the pope urged all "people of good will" to fight for... More »

Judge Tells Killer: 'I Hope You Die in Prison'

Michigan woman angers him with behavior in court

(Newser) - "I hope you die in prison." The phrase was heard in court this week as 31-year-old Camia Gamet got sentenced to life in prison for murder. It came not from a member of the victim's family, however, but from the judge himself, reports MyFox Detroit . Gamet, convicted... More »

Future Sentences Could Last 1K Years —in Prisoners' Minds

Philosophers discuss mind-warping punishments

(Newser) - We could someday see prison sentences radically altered—in the prisoner's own mind, the Telegraph reports. An Oxford philosophers are considering how future technology could, for instance, make a jail sentence feel as though it lasted 1,000 years, they tell Aeon magazine. After all, there are already "... More »

3.3K US Prisoners Serving Life for Non-Violent Crimes

ACLU report slams 'grotesquely' out of whack sentencing

(Newser) - When you think of criminals who get locked away for life with no hope of parole, murderers or rapists might come to mind. But a guy who shoplifted a $159 jacket? He is one of 3,278 prisoners serving such a sentence in federal or state prisons in the US... More »

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