Jeffrey Roberio was 17 years old when he murdered a Middleboro grandfather. He was given the state's maximum penalty, life no parole. But Wednesday, Roberio got that sentence reduced.
There are more than 60 convicted teen killers in Massachusetts, serving life no parole that are getting their sentences reduced. They are still convicted of first degree murder, but the penalty is changing. That means they'll all have a date before the parole board.
In Brockton Superior Court, Roberio began his journey to get out of prison. The convicted killer looked like he didn't have a care in the world in the court as he took his first legal steps to get out of prison.
Roberio was a teenager when he killed 79-year-old Lewis Jennings, but thanks to an SJC ruling banning life no parole for juvenile killers, Roberio is getting his sentence reduced to life with parole. Meaning, he will soon have a parole hearing, a chance at freedom. And that has the family of Jennings, outraged
âThe victim has no rights. The victim has no rights at all now. Itâs all been taken away. For all victims. This is a disgrace, a terrible terrible disgrace,â Donna Villaire, Jenningsâ daughter said.
Legal analyst Phil Tracey explains this is all happening after a Christmas Eve ruling from the stateâs highest court finding juvenile killers cannot be given the harshest punishment, life no parole, no matter the severity of the crime.
âThe theory behind the idea of allowing eligibility for parole, or mandatory eligibility for parole, is that a teen's brain has not developed, as an adults would, to the point, where the cold blooded ness of the killing can be attributed to the mens rea or malice of forethought. The characteristic you must have for first degree murder,â Tracey said.
For Jenningsâ family, it was difficult to see Roberio again, but they know, they will see him again in the future, at his parole hearing, where they will fight to keep him behind bars.
âI didn't like seeing him. He looks like he has no remorse. He was almost smiling, walking like ha ha ha, Iâm going to get out. He's very smug he has no remorse, he has never shown remorse. He has never said sorry to the family,â Lewisâ granddaughter Diane Frazier said.
Roberio has already postponed his first parole board hearing. However, on May 29, two convicted teen killers who were sentenced to life no parole, will go before the state parole board.
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