LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — A man convicted in the slaying of a 4-year-old Fayetteville girl is set to get a new sentence following an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday (Feb. 14).
Christopher Segerstrom was 15 when he was convicted of capital murder for sexually assaulting and killing Barbie Thompson in 1986.
He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
But since then, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that juveniles couldn’t be sentenced to life without parole.
In April 2017, the State filed a motion for resentencing in Washington County Circuit Court under the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act of 2017 (FSMA), which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for minors who commit serious crimes.
The law made several prisoners who had served 30 years eligible for parole.
In May 2017, Judge Mark Linsday sentenced Segerstrom to life in prison with the possibility of parole after thirty years based on FSMA, arguing the law applied retroactively.
Segerstrom's parole was later denied.
In her majority opinion, Justice Karen Baker said the circuit court "erred in applying the FSMA to Segerstrom’s case" and "Segerstrom is entitled to a hearing ... for consideration and sentencing within the discretionary range for a Class Y felony, which is ten to forty years or life."
Justices Rhonda Wood and Robin Wynne concurred with Baker's opinion. Justice Shawn Womack dissented.