The highest court in Massachusetts vacated the life-without-parole sentence of a man who was 16 when he killed a 14-year-old boy and sent the case back to Superior Court for resentencing.
The unanimous decision released Thursday by the Supreme Judicial Court retroactively applied a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling decided four days after Joshua Fernandes was convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 of killing Nicholas Fomby-Davis on a Boston street in 2010, The Boston Globe reported.
The federal decision said juvenile brain development is scientifically different than in adults, and that sentencing teenagers to life without parole violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Fernandes and his codefendant pulled Fomby-Davis off a scooter, held him down, and Fernandes shot the victim four times, the court said. The suspects were arrested within minutes because an off-duty member of the Boston Police Department’s gang unit heading home came upon the scene and witnessed the shooting, the court said.
The other suspect, Crisostomo Lopes, was 20 at the time and remains behind bars serving a life-without-parole sentence.