- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A man convicted nearly 11 years ago is asking the Mississippi appeals court to reconsider his life sentence in the 2004 stabbing death of his grandfather in Lee County.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1py6bN4) this the second time Brett Jones has made a swing through the appeals process.

In July 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated his sentence in the wake of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court so-called “Miller” ruling declaring that a mandatory ruling of life with no possibility of parole for a juvenile constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Jones was 15 at the time of the crime.

So, when Jones’ attorneys returned to Lee County in 2015 asking circuit Judge Thomas Gardner for leniency, he heard their arguments and said no: Jones’ new sentence is life without parole.

Wednesday, Jones’ new attorneys - Robert McDuff and Jacob Howard of Jackson - asked the Mississippi Court of Appeals to hear them out about a different fate for their client, serving his time at the state penitentiary.

“This is the first case in which a Mississippi appellate court has been asked to apply Miller’s demanding substantive rule” and conduct a start-over review “of whether a particular defendant is the ‘rare juvenile offender who exhibits such irretrievable depravity that rehabilitation is impossible” and lifetime in prison is justified, the 140-page legal request states.

In May 2005, a Lee County jury convicted the teenager of killing his grandfather during a heated argument in the older man’s Palmetto community home. Jones continues to insist his actions against 68-year-old Bertis Jones were in self-defense.


Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, https://djournal.com

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