A Missouri case might well set an age limit on executions. The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Christopher Simmons, 17-years-old when he broke into the house of Shirley Crook of Fenton in 1993. He bound Crook and tossed her to her death off a bridge so she wouldn’t be able to identify him. A jury convicted him and a judge sentenced him to death. The Missouri Supreme Court overruled the sentence. The opinion written by Judge Laura Denvir Stith ties its conclusion closely to the path taken by the US Supreme Court to eventually rule against the execution of the mentally retarded. The State Supreme Court then sentenced Simmons to life in prison. Attorney General Jay Nixon appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court, which accepted the case. Another Missouri case was involved the last time the US Supreme Court considered whether states could execute those accused of murder prior to their 18th birthday. Then, in 1989, the high court upheld such executions.
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