A man who was convicted of murder 20 years ago is now arguing that a life sentence discriminates– against younger people.
Shawn Helmenstein is seeking to clarify his parole eligibility date.
The 42-year-old was sentenced in 2000 to life in prison, with the possibility of parole, for a deadly liquor store robbery.
Helmenstein shot and killed a clerk at the House of Bottles, in Bismarck.
A South Central District Judge appeared skeptical of Helmenstein’s argument but said he’d consider it.
Helmenstein argued a 22-year-old sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole, would have to serve more than 46 years before becoming eligible for release, but a person convicted at the age of 42– would be eligible after less than 31 years.
The Judge said he would modify Helmenstein’s sentencing judgment to include his life expectancy, which will help calculate his parole eligibility date.