AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Court of Appeals has determined two people convicted in a 2005 murder-for-hire plot received sentences which have since been determined unconstitutional and ordered the Nacogdoches County Court to re-assess them.
Colton Elbert Weir, 25, and Shaina Lynette Sepulvado, 25, were each convicted of capital murder in 2008 in the death of Sepulvado's stepfather, James Kelly.
John Heath Jr., Sepulvado defense attorney said it was a murder for hire plot.
"Marcia Kelly, Shania mother basically conned Shania into gathering up a group to murder James Kelly," said Heath.
He Said Sepulvado recruited Weir and her boyfriend Dallas Christian.
"Colton was the shooter and Christian drove the get away car," Heath said.
The court alleges the juveniles sentences of life without parole violates the Eighth Amendment under Miller v. Alabama, as they were juveniles at the time of the crime. The Miller case was not brought before the Supreme Court until after Weir and Sepulvado were sentenced. At the time, life without parole was the only punishment which could be given to juveniles convicted of capital murder.
The 420th Court must assess their sentences at life with the possibility of parole or life without parole after consideration of their conduct, circumstances and character.
"However, the jury convictions of capital murder still stands," Heath said.
Weir and Sepulvado were two of four people convicted of capital murder. Previous reports state Weir shot Kelly while he was sleeping. He was to be paid $10,000 and a pickup.
While Sepulvado's mother, Marcia Kelly, maintained her innocence, it was discovered she had a $100,000 insurance policy on him.
Former Nacogdoches County District Attorney Stephanie Stephens said Sepulvado motive was not greed.
"Her mother allowed her to do whatever she wanted while her step-father was the disciplinarian," said Stephens. " Sepulvado's motive was to get rid of him,"
Kelly is also serving a sentence of life without parole. A fourth person, Dallas Christian, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree murder and is serving a 40-year prison sentence.