A Wyoming man who was convicted of first-degree murder when he was 16 will be eligible for parole after serving 40 years in prison.
Phillip Sam, 20, was re-sentenced Monday for the October 2014 shooting death of 19-year-old Tyler Burns. Witnesses said Burns was begging for his life when Sam shot him in the head at point-blank range at a park in Cheyenne.
The Wyoming Supreme Court overturned Sam’s original sentence of at least 52 years in prison, finding it was unconstitutional because it amounted to a life sentence.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled sentencing juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional because such sentences do not consider the juvenile’s brain development or their home life.