A Missouri Senate bill would revoke parole eligibility for juveniles under the age of 18 if they’re convicted of second-degree murder. It’s sponsored by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City.

Patricia Preiss, of mid-Missouri’s St. Martins, testified in favor of his legislation. She is the mother of Elizabeth Olten, a 9-year-old girl who was brutally murdered in 2009.

“We need stricter laws,” she told a Missouri Senate committee. “There’s no consequences for youths anymore. These are not children playing on the playgrounds. They have no regard for human life. The evil monster that took Elizabeth’s life wrote in her diary that it was amazing and then went to church like nothing happened.”

Jeff Smith, an attorney for the ACLU of Missouri opposes the bill. He told the committee that life sentences for juveniles is a form of ‘extreme sentencing.’

“The ACLU does stand on principle in opposing life sentences for juveniles who commit crimes,” he said. “Try to ensure alignment with supreme court precedent, which counsels against extreme sentencing of youth.”

The committee hasn’t voted on the measure.

Click here for more information on SB 746.

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