Crime

Guilty Pleas End 42-Year-Old Cold Case

Sep 12, 2017
Montgomery Co., MD Police

One of the oldest cold case prosecutions in the country’s history ended Tuesday in Bedford when Lloyd Welch, Jr. pleaded guilty to the abduction and murder of two sisters.

Jail / Flickr

Jason Clem is 12 years into a life sentence for a murder he committed when he was 16.

A nonprofit estimates there are 60 people like Clem in Virginia, serving a life sentence without hope of parole, for a crime they committed when they are under 18. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that’s unconstitutional.

But, so far, that's had little effect for those in Virginia.

Stephen Wilson / Flickr

Jason Clem was 16 when, in the course of robbing the restaurant he worked at, he murdered his boss. Clem was sentenced to a life term.

Now, 12 years later, Clem’s lawyers argue that punishment is unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard his case Tuesday.

Under Virginia law, there are only two options for punishment when a minor is a murderer: one is the death penalty, the other is a life sentence.

Virginia Supreme Court justices will soon be deciding on a case that could have a significant impact on what state officials can withhold—even when a Freedom of Information Act request is submitted.

Although this case began with one lawmaker asking about how executions are carried out, he also discovered that agencies may have found a way around disclosing pertinent information.