Supreme Court ruling requires new sentence in Bedford County murder case

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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) It was a crime that stunned Bedford County and students at Liberty High School in the late 1990's.

Jamiel Poindexter, a star athlete, was shot in the head and robbed of his belongings in September of 1998. In a matter of days two of his classmates, Randy Ross and Keirstin Davis, were charged with murder.

Both owned up to their role in the crime in 1999 and remain in prison, but because Ross received a life sentence prosecutors are having to revisit the case and pursue a new punishment.

"There have been a series of Supreme Court rulings that have deemed life in prison for a juvenile unconstitutional," said Bedford County acting commonwealth's attorney Wes Nance.

Ross was 17 at the time of his conviction. Davis was also a minor, but she received a 63 year sentence and was not impacted by the recent Supreme Court ruling.

The resurrection of Ross' case has been difficult for Poindexter's parents, who still live in Bedford.

"It's been a very troubling circumstance since we had to inform them," said Nance.

Ross' murder conviction still stands, but a Federal judge has thrown out his life sentence. Judge Jim Updike, who tried the case in 1999, will have to come up with a new punishment.

"This was a heinous act back then and it still holds true today," said Nance. We will be seeking a very strict sentence when we go back before the judge on these matters."

Ross is scheduled to be back in court for a new sentencing November 15, but Nance told WDBJ7 Monday the hearing will likely be continued because Ross' defense needs more time to prepare.

Ross' sentence is one of hundreds across the nation that were impacted by the recent Supreme Court decision pertaining to juvenile offenders.