Christopher Thrasher (left), 42, and Carvin Stargell (right), 43, were originally sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1992 murders of Allen Eakes, 15, and Kevin Duncan, 14.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it was unconstitutional for juveniles to be sentenced to life without parole on capital murder convictions. The court later ruled that the decision was to be applied retroactively for those convicted prior to 2012.
Judges could still resentence offenders to life without parole but other sentencing options were required to be possible, as well.
Eakes and Duncan were found dead in Shades Creek in Jefferson County in February of 1992. They had been beaten with a baseball bat and left for dead.
Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Judge David Carpenter cited in his order a psychologist who examined Thrasher when he was 16, according to al.com. The psychologist said that Thrasher, who was 16 at the time of the crimes, had the mental capacity of a 13-year-old. “It is indisputable that 13-year-olds know right from wrong,” the judge wrote.
The judge went on to say that evidence presented showed that Thrasher and others convicted contemplated the murders, and “Thrasher planned and attempted to kill the only witness.”
The order goes on to say, “Thrasher cannot argue that, due to his lack of maturity, he made an impetuous decision and fired a single shot from a gun causing a regrettable death. No, in this case, he instructed other gang members to commit the murders, and when they failed to do so after their first attempt he again instructed the other gang members to kill Allen Eakes and Kevin Duncan.”
Thrasher was “much more than a mere aider and abettor,”the judge wrote, and that he could have prevented the crimes.
Stargell, 17 at the time, “expressed his intent to kill” Adam and Kevin and attempted to get a gun and only took a bat when he failed to do so.
The judge wrote that after the killings, Stargell had a “considerable amount of time” to think about his next move. However, he raped and beat the surviving 14-year-old female victim and left her to die.
Stargell testified at the time that he was not a member of the Gangster Disciples gang but that Thrasher was.
The judge went on to say that neither man has ever expressed any remorse for the crimes.
Nathan Gast, who was also convicted and received a sentence of life in prison with a possibility of parole for his involvement in the murders, was released in 2014 after being resentenced to time served.