Impact of Supreme Court's decision of juveniles on Oklahoma's death row

Tuesday, March 1st 2005, 2:25 pm
By: News On 6

The US Supreme Court says murderers who are 16 and 17 years are too young to die and cannot be executed.

Oklahoma doesn't have any people on death row this affects right now, but has executed two men in the past five years who were in that category.

A Green Country mother believes the decision is a miscarriage of justice. Carol Sanders' daughter, Laura Lee and a friend, Michael Houghton were murdered in 1987. They were locked in the trunk of a car and burned alive.

One of the killers, Scott Hain[pictured left] was 17 at the time and already had a criminal history. He was executed two years ago, but under the new ruling, he would've allowed to live. "Hain did a terrible thing. He murdered two innocent people and already had a life of crime. He was a bad apple. I would hate to see what impact this decision would've had in our life."

Sanders says the new decision makes no allowances for how many people a 16 or 17 year old kills or how heinous the crime. And she doesn't buy the argument that teenagers can't be held accountable for their crimes. "It is incredible to me the ability of young people now to when I was growing up. They are so street smart. They know what they're doing and they're street smart and it's bad."

Sean Sellers[pictured right] is the other Oklahoman whose life would've been spared under the new decision. He was 16 when he murdered a convenience store clerk, his mother and step-father in Oklahoma City.

After 13 years on death row, he was executed five years ago at the age of 29.