Commonwealth v. Shroat

The Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated the defendant’s sentence after the trial court resentenced him to life without parole (LWOP) for a murder committed when he was 17 years old. The defendant pleaded guilty to First-Degree Murder after strangling and stabbing a five-year-old girl. He was sentenced to LWOP. Pursuant to Miller and Montgomery, the lower court granted a resentencing hearing. An expert testified that the defendant was a low risk to re-offend. The Commonwealth did not present an expert to rebut the defense’s expert testimony. The lower court resentenced the defendant to LWOP. The Superior Court reversed and held that the lower court abused its discretion. The Court ruled that the lower court’s opinion reflected a lack of consideration for the defendant’s youth, history, and rehabilitative needs in favor of an excessive focus on the heinous act he committed as a minor.

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