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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah's two prisoners serving life without parole for slayings they carried out as 17-year-olds both tried and failed to appeal their sentences, keeping them in prison despite key rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court on juvenile lifers.
A 50-state examination by The Associated Press found that the rulings have resulted in an uneven patchwork of responses nationwide as officials wrestle with complicated cases.
In Utah, Robert Cameron Houston took his appeal calling his sentence "cruel and unusual punishment" to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices declined to take the case. That came after the Utah Supreme Court upheld the sentence.
Also in Utah, Morris Mullins' request last year for a resentencing based on the argument that his attorney didn't properly explain what he was agreeing to was also denied.
Houston was 17 years old in 2006 when he raped and fatally stabbed Raechale Elton, a 22-year-old youth counselor who gave Houston a ride from a Clearfield group home for troubled teens to a nearby independent living center during a fierce snowstorm. He pleaded guilty to aggravated murder as part of a plea deal.
Mullins pleaded guilty in the May 2001 rape-murder of 78-year-old Amy Davis at her Richfield home.
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