Convicted Killer Granted Parole in Landmark Mass. Ruling

The state Parole Board's decision Thursday will likely affect dozens of murder cases involving juveniles.

File photo.
File photo.
A convicted murderer was granted parole Thursday in a landmark decision that will likely affect dozens of murder cases involving juveniles.

The state's Parole Board voted 6-0 to release Frederick Christian from prison, the Boston Globe reported.

Christian, 37, was sentenced to life when he was 17 after he watched his friend shoot two Brockton men to death in 1994.

Christian had his parole hearing on May 29. Joseph Donovan, also convicted as a juvenile and sentenced to life, had his parole hearing that same day. Both have been in prison for more than two decades. 

In December, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled teenagers sentenced to life in prison should have a shot at parole.

"Because the brain of a juvenile is not fully developed ... a judge cannot find with confidence that a particular offender, at that point in time, is irretrievably depraved," the court wrote.

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said he was "shocked" by the Parole Board's decision, arguing that Christian conspired to commit the murders.

Cruz said Christian has had 31 disciplinary reports—the most recent being in 2012.

"It is clear the defendant didn’t change his conduct until he had something to gain," Cruz said in a statement.

Thursday's ruling could also affect the case of Philip Chism, the 14-year-old Danvers native charged with raping and killing his high school teacher last year.

Do you think teenagers should be exempt from life sentences? Share your opinion in the comments.

Tammie King June 06, 2014 at 06:46 PM
This article says he had 31 infractions, the Globe article from last week showed that he was a model prisoner who got his GED and emmersed himself in religion and law.http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/05/28/two-men-convicted-teens-with-hope-for-parole-will-now-vie-for-freedom/OmwvxGY7GaTq2drwCbDUzN/story.html#skip-target I dont know him, but.... I wont judge him. This is America and we are better than that.
Joe Veno June 07, 2014 at 07:22 AM
BULLCRAP !! A 17 year old knows what her / she ids doing !!!
H Shamir June 08, 2014 at 09:13 AM
People change. Nothing human is forever. My vote is for "Trust But Verify". After release, post parole, keep tabs!
Angelo June 08, 2014 at 11:42 AM
You may be right H Shamir, but I think the public would be more comfortable if the parole board mandated that he wear a tracking device as a condition for release, but unfortunately criminal have too many rights in our state...
mark patterson June 08, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Hey Manbat, I never said THIS particular case was a capitol crime . I was speaking generally of crimes that should be punishable by the death penalty. I would include treason by the highest office among those crimes!


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