BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After being declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court five years ago, a Louisiana judge ruled for the first time if a juvenile murder suspect will now be eligible for parole.
"For me, it's justice for my Dan," said victim, Daniel Magee's, mother, Mary Magee.
The year was 2005 when the Magees' then 22-year-old son, Daniel, was shot three times, dragged out of his car, and left for dead in the middle of River Rd. Two years later, Anthony Johnson was convicted of second degree murder and given a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Johnson was 17 at the time of the shooting.
In 2012, the Unites States Supreme Court ruled life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. Louisiana left it up to the judges to hear these specific cases and see if they qualified for the possibility of parole. Johnson's case was the first heard in Louisiana, back in March. On Wednesday, April 19, Judge Richard Anderson ruled he does not qualify for parole.
"Yes, he's at a young age being sent to prison, but obviously by his own actions. He's not earned anything. He's earned in fact, this life sentence, as opposed to earning a parole eligibility," said district attorney Hillar Moore.
"It was his choice that put him there and he needs to bear the brunt of that," said Mary Magee.
In court Wednesday, Judge Anderson said, "It appears defendant is okay not only with killing a human being, but also with blaming someone else."
The judge said this because after the murder, Johnson tried to say someone else killed Magee. "Doesn't appear defendant has changed. He was ungovernable then and is still ungovernable," said Judge Anderson.
At the March hearing, an Angola warden testified that Johnson is among the "worst of the worst" inmates, with 39 disciplinary actions.
Johnson's brother, Jeremy, was also in court Wednesday. "They say 39 citations, but that's in 12 years. He's not at the YMCA. He's at Angola and he's been there since he was a child," said Johnson. "You also have to understand he was a child when this happened."
Currently, Louisiana legislators are looking at a bill that would reexamine nearly 300 cases where people were under the age of 18 when they killed someone and are serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
But the Magees say they're having to relive the pain all over again and what felt like closure exactly ten years ago when Johnson was convicted, feels the opposite now. "It's not real closure. Our son isn't coming back, but this does take away that sense of some closure," said Mary Magee.
"It's really like pouring salt in the wounds. Just as it gets close to getting healed, it's like starting over again," said Magee's father, Steve Magee.
The judge gave the defense six months to appeal the ruling to give them time to see what lawmakers are going to do.