The Associated Press

Mass. Man Serving Life For Juvenile Crime Granted Parole

Frederick Christian speaks on his own behalf during a hearing before the state's parole board in Natick last month. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Frederick Christian speaks on his own behalf during a hearing before the state’s parole board in Natick last month. (Elise Amendola/AP)

NATICK, Mass. — A Massachusetts man imprisoned since age 17 for his role in a 1994 deadly robbery was granted parole Thursday, the first inmate be granted such a ruling since the state’s highest court found that life imprisonment for juveniles is cruel and unusual.

Frederick Christian is one of 63 Massachusetts inmates serving life without parole under a juvenile sentencing law that carried a mandatory life sentence for first-degree murder.

In December, the state Supreme Judicial Court found that law unconstitutional, following a landmark 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down such mandatory life sentencing laws.

In its ruling, the Parole Board cited Christian’s age at the time of the crime, his clean prison record and his testimony at a hearing last week. Christian, now 37, told the board that he had completed various rehabilitation programs in prison, had earned his high school equivalency degree and become a devoted Muslim.

“He has 15 years of pro-social conduct, cooperative behavior, and productive activity,” the board wrote in its decision. “Through this commitment and effort, Christian rehabilitated himself. Both his conduct in prison and his testimony at the hearing provide solid evidence of his successful rehabilitation.”

Christian was convicted as a joint venture in a robbery in which two people were killed and a third was wounded. Another man fired the gun.

District Attorney Timothy Cruz testified against Christian’s release, saying although he didn’t pull the trigger, he set up the robbery. Cruz could not immediately be reached for comment on the decision.

The surviving robbery victim, Carolos Araujo, 38, called Christian “a stone-cold killer” and testified he feared for his safety and that of his eight daughters if Christian were released.

In its ruling, the board said Christian would be released from prison gradually, after completing a motivational enhancement program in prison, then spending a year in a lower-security facility. He must also complete at least three months of a residential treatment program in Tennessee, where he grew up and plans to live.

Parole Board Chairman Josh Wall said the board is “working diligently” to implement the court decision and will consider each petition “with thoughtfulness and rigor.”

“Our deliberations involve considerations of public safety, rehabilitation, and whether petitioner, if placed on the proper path with the proper programming and supervision, has the potential to successfully re-enter society,” Wall said in a statement.

Earlier:

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  • lowCal90

    Liberty implies a private sphere inside which conditions and choices cannot be controlled and confined to those determined by others.

  • Away Sale

    you wouldn’t think that way if this dirt bag killed your family member. its people like you who belong to live in massachusetts with the rest of the bleeding heart idiots.

    • gotham77

      You talk about living in Massachusetts as if it’s a bad thing. But life’s pretty good here, even you know that.

      • Away Sale

        it could be much better if we didnt bend over backwards to help those who dont deserve it, and ignore those who do.

      • Joe Schmoe

        i live in mass, and have my whole life, id ill admit that this state sucks the big one, but my family is here and ill deal with the misery taxachusetts will dish out…

    • Mort Sinclair

      You should talk with someone about your anger issues. I sure hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian, but something tells me you probably do.

      • Away Sale

        dont spew religion at me as a defense. I have no anger issues, my issues are about people like you who think CRIMINALS should be forgiven and set free,

        • Joe Schmoe

          Away, im from Mass and i completely agree with you, this guy should have seen an electric chair in my opinion. Eye for an eye is the way we should deal with criminals, not coddle, then let them out so they can reoffend….

  • Joe Schmoe

    anyone want to take bets on whether or not he reoffends? Im gonna give with he will. He ended someones life, who cares is life in prison is cruel and unusual, personally i think he should have gotten the death penalty….

  • Joe Schmoe

    Mary Ellen, youre an idiot and the prime example of what is wrong with this country, and more specifically this (a)ssbackwards state. He helped end an innocent persons life, who cares if he can be rehabilitated, he should have seen an electric chair!

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