Resentenced Monticello Murderer May Get Parole


MONTICELLO, AR (Ben Caxton) — Thanks to several Supreme Court Rulings, and a new Arkansas law, a Monticello man originally sentenced to life in prison, may be freed on parole in nine years. In February 1996 then 15-year-old Derrick Harris was seen by witnesses leaving the offices of Monticello used car dealer Jimmy Gaithings carrying a gun after having heard what they reported sounded like gunshots. Gaithings was found dead and Harris was convicted to life in prison without parole in December of that year. Last year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its ban on mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles must be applied retroactively. This week Harris, now 37, was resentenced to life with parole eligibility under the new statute for juveniles convicted of capital murder. He will be eligible for parole in 2026, 30 years from the date of his original sentence date, less jail time credit from the date of his arrest.


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