CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An inmate convicted of murder as a teenager in 2002 is seeking his release under a 2014 West Virginia law that allows parole for juveniles who commit serious crimes.
A state parole board this week deferred a bid for freedom by Michael Day, 32, pending approval of a home plan. West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina said Thursday that Day has until May to secure the plan.
The state Division of Corrections’ Parole Services reviews such plans and recommends whether the parole board should approve it. Messina said if approved by the deadline, May can be placed on parole. Otherwise, his case will be placed on status hearing.
Day was convicted in the June 2002 murder of a homeless veteran in Cabell County. He also was convicted of felony conspiracy. Day was 17 at the time.
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In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of murder. Last year, the court said the ruling was retroactive for the more than 2,000 offenders serving such sentences nationwide.
West Virginia lawmakers enacted a measure in 2014 that said offenders age 17 and younger convicted of serious crimes shall be eligible for parole after serving 15 years. The state parole board applied the legislation retroactively, and identified seven juvenile lifers in murder cases for whom the new terms were applied, including Day.
In September a parole board denied pleas for freedom from three other West Virginia inmates convicted of murder as teenagers. The three-member board told each prisoner in brief remarks it wasn’t ready to let them go. They will have another hearing next September.
Parole hearings for three other inmates convicted for murders committed as juveniles are still at least two years away, including for:
—Cecil “Clay” Holcomb III, 39, convicted of the May 1993 murders of his parents in Fayette County. His hearing is set for December 2019.
—John Moss Jr., 55, convicted of the December 1979 murders of a Kanawha County woman and her two children, 7 and 4. His hearing is set for September 2020.
—Kelly Chapman, 24, was convicted of the November 2008 murder of his intended victim’s unborn child in Kanawha County. His hearing is set for October 2023.