Hearing postponed in juvenile life sentence case

A hearing to determine whether a 57-year-old killer should have a chance at parole because he was convicted as a juvenile was postponed Friday because the state Supreme Court is considering issues related to his and similar cases in Louisiana.

LeRoy Jenkins was 15 when he shot and killed 63-year-old Edward Trask in a rural area of East Feliciana Parish near the Mississippi state line in July 1971.

Jenkins later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without benefit of parole, probation and suspension of sentence.

Jenkins escaped from Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in December 1973. He then went to Chicago, where he got a job and settled down until he was arrested again in 1982, apparently after applying to be a police officer.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled in a 5-4 decision that states can no longer automatically impose life sentences without the possibility of parole on juveniles in murder cases.

In response, the Louisiana Legislature amended the sentencing law this year.

The issue before the state’s high court, in the case of a New Orleans man, is whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling and the state law amendment applies to juveniles sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed before the June 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Darryl Tate of New Orleans on Sept. 6 but has not issued a ruling.

Jenkins’ attorney, Jim Boren, says in a motion filed Friday “the hearing should be postponed until such time as the Tate decision is rendered.”