Ohio House lawmakers pass bill to stiffen murder penalties

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to stiffen mandatory sentences for convicted murderers in Ohio has been approved by the Ohio House and is headed to the Senate for consideration.

The House approved “Justin’s Law” last week. It calls for increasing the number of years convicted murderers must serve before becoming parole eligible.

The bill increases 20-, 25- and 30-year mandatory prison terms to 25, 30, 35, 45 or 55 years.

It also increases possible penalties for premeditated murder and for convicted murderers under age 18.

The parents of Justin Back have urged lawmakers to stiffen the penalties after the 18-year-old Warren teen was killed by two men in January 2014.

The Ohio public defender’s office says the bill is unnecessary because prison life expectancy is around 39 years.

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