Judge won’t reopen sentencing in 1997 triple slaying of Lillelid family

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A judge has denied a motion to reopen sentencing for a defendant in a 20-year-old triple slaying in East Tennessee.

Media report Greene County Criminal Court Judge Alex Pearson rejected the motion from attorneys for Karen Howell, who was 17 when she pleaded guilty in 1998 to the roadside slayings of a mother, father and daughter in East Tennessee. She was sentenced to life without parole.

Howell’s attorneys cited recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions dealing with juvenile sentences in a motion asking for her sentence to be reconsidered.

Pearson said he reviewed transcripts from the original hearing and found that the judge considered all relevant factors before imposing the sentence.

Howell and five other Kentucky youths pleaded guilty to kidnapping the Lillelid family from a Tennessee rest area in 1997 and killing the mother, father and daughter and maiming their son, to steal their van.

Howell’s attorneys said they plan to appeal the ruling.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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