Monday's Supreme Court ruling that barred states from requiring juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to life in prison without the possiblity of parole could mean the eventual release of Newton man serving a life sentence in Anamosa.
Tyler Ray Oberhart was 17 when he and two other Newton teens stabbed Jerry Pittman II 29 times in the backyard of his home at 714 W. 3rd St. S. in October 2007. Oberhart was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, a conviction that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court. He is now 21 years old.
The two other teens involved in the incident, Ray Travis and Justin Robuck, were originally charged with first degree murder but plead guilty to lesser offenses.
Travis plead guilty to second degree robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was 19 at the time of the murder and is now 24 and serving his time at the Iowa State Penitentiary. He tentatively scheduled for release on Jan. 6, 2017.
Robuck, also 19 at the time of Pittman's death, received a 50 year prison term on a second degree murder conviction. Now 24, he is serving his time at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility. He is tentatively scheduled for release on Sept. 15, 2050.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said judges could continue to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole in individual cases but that states could not automatically impose such sentences.
The court held "that mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crime violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on 'cruel and unusual punishment.'"