- Associated Press - Monday, June 5, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - A man sentenced to life in prison without parole for a killing that occurred when he was 15 is now eligible for parole after rulings from by the state’s and nation’s highest courts.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2qY1XOT ) reports that Christopher Segerstrom was originally sentenced for the 1986 sexual assault and death of a 4-year-old girl.

But since then, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arkansas Supreme Court have ruled that juveniles can’t be sentenced to life without parole. Lawmakers later changed Arkansas law to allow for the possibility of parole after 30 years to comply with the court rulings. A judge resentenced Segerstrom last month, meaning he is now eligible for parole.

Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett said he’ll oppose parole in the case.

“I think he is and always will be a danger to society,” Durrett said.

Durrett met with the victim’s family to discuss the parole process after Segerstrom was resentenced.

“It’s still confusing because this is a family that was told 30 years ago that this guy was never, ever going to get out again,” Durrett said. “There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of emotions.”

As of Friday, no parole hearing date has been set.

Segerstrom was declared mentally fit to stand trial as an adult despite his lawyers’ efforts - including citing conflicting opinions from the Arkansas State Hospital -to contest his mental fitness. They also unsuccessfully tried to have his case moved to juvenile court.

Segerstrom is now housed in a mental-health residential unit at the Arkansas Department of Correction Ouachita River Unit, according to the prison website. The 46-year-old was found guilty of two major disciplinary violations, both involving sexual activity, according to the website.

Records show he has completed multiple anger management programs, a thinking errors group, a communications skills class and two stress management programs while in prison.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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