Accused Santa Fe HS shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, won’t face the death penalty if he is convicted of capital murder, and could be paroled when he’s 57, thanks to two US Supreme Court rulings. A 2005 decision made it unconstitutional for anyone under 18 at the time of their crime to face execution, and a 2012 ruling outlawed life without parole.
After the 2012 ruling, Texas enacted a law requiring murder convicts, including juveniles, to serve a minimum of four decades in prison. “The penalty is life with possible parole after 40 years,” said Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center.
Dunham doubted Texas parole authorities would free a notorious mass murderer such as the suspected Pagourtzis, but because the law is so new, no killer has yet served that much time.