HOUSTON (AP) – Texas’ top criminal court has ruled a mandatory life without parole sentence given in 2007 to a man convicted of capital murder for a fatal robbery at an Arlington convenience store when he was 17 was improper.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday agreed with a Tarrant County trial court that determined the sentence for Julis Edward Perales violated constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. Perales, now 28, will be returned to the court in Fort Worth for a new sentencing hearing.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruled the mandatory sentence for defendants under 18 was unconstitutional. When Perales was tried for capital murder in 2007, it was the only sentence available. Two years earlier, the high court had barred death sentences for defendants under 18.