Life sentence upheld in 1994 killing of Ball State student

Larry Newton Jr.

MUNCIE, Ind. — The Indiana appeals court has rejected a bid by a man convicted of killing a Ball State University student 23 years ago to have his life sentence thrown out.

A lawyer for Larry Newton Jr. has argued the life sentence is unconstitutional because was 17 when the shooting happened in 1994. Newton pleaded guilty to fatally shooting 19-year-old Christopher Coyle of Pendleton during an attempted robbery near the Muncie campus.

The (Muncie) Star Press reports the appeals court upheld Newton’s prison sentence, saying the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t “categorically” barred all juveniles from receiving life terms. Newton pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping their death penalty request.

One of Newton’s accomplices was also sentenced to life in prison, while another received a 60-year sentence.

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