Men Sentenced To Life As Juveniles Make Cases For Freedom

Download Audio

At hearings in Natick Thursday, two men who were sentenced to life in prison as juveniles made their case for freedom before the Massachusetts Parole Board.

The hearings come in response to a December ruling by the state's highest court that said mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. The Supreme Judicial Court cited scientific research showing that young brains aren't fully developed so aren't always capable of sound reasoning.

The Parole Board is hearing the cases of Joseph Donovan, now 38, who was convicted in the 1992 murder of an MIT student, and 37-year-old Frederick Christian, convicted in 1998 for the killing of two men during a drug-related robbery. Although Donovan and Christian were involved in the crimes, neither committed the actual killings.


Deborah Becker, WBUR reporter. She tweets at @wburdebbecker.


WBUR: 2 Juvenile Lifers Are Given Parole Hearings For 1st Time

  • "In the first hearings of their kind, two Massachusetts men sentenced to life in prison as juveniles on Thursday begin making their case for freedom to the state Parole Board."

This segment aired on May 29, 2014.


More from Radio Boston

Listen Live