After Adnan Syed, John Sexton who killed friend 30 years ago may walk free, thanks to Maryland’s juvenile law
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: A Maryland law could result in the release of a man convicted of murder more than 30 years ago. In 1988, John Sexton, then 17, shot his 16-year-old friend Marc Uher dead. Uher was a junior at Linganore High School in Frederick County. Sexton was convicted of murder in his death and sentenced to life in prison. Now, he could be released under the Juvenile Restoration Act, which bans life without parole for juvenile offenders in Maryland. “Even after 34 years, I’ve tried to remember if I saw him in school, just even in the hall, before John executed him,” said Cassandra Thompson, a friend of Uher, WBAL reported.
WBAL-TV 11 News met Sexton in 2019 while he was working with service dogs inside a Maryland Correctional Institute. “This is definitely an opportunity to do as much as I can to provide some kind of meaningful something in this world,” Sexton said at the time. Now 50, Sexton will request that his sentence be reconsidered this Friday, September 23.
"It’s not fair. John even has the remotest possibility of getting a second chance. Mark never even got to graduate high school,” Thompson said. Brian Saccenti, the director of The Decarceration Initiative, said the law "permits people who were under 18 at the time of the crime and who’ve served at least 20 years in prison to file motions asking judges to reduce their sentences and release them from incarceration." This, however, happens, when the judge decides the suspect is no longer a danger to society and when it is in the interest of justice.
Sexton's legal team has said that he is now “matured and reformed since the crime" and that his sentence must be reduced. But Thomson believes otherwise. “He was 17 years old. He made a man’s choice – and his decision was to execute his friend,” Thompson said.
“Mr. Sexton is a good example of how children who commit serious offenses can mature, rehabilitate, and become truly good people. He is deeply remorseful for the life he took and the pain he’s caused. In the 33 years he has been in prison, he has become a model citizen," his attorney said in a statement. Sexton is set to have his hearing on Friday in Frederick County Circuit Court.
The same law played a big role in convicted murderer Adnan Syed's release recently. A US judge quashed the 41-year-old Baltimore man's murder conviction. Syed was 18 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the death of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Lee's body was found buried in the woods in 1999. Syed will be released into home detention.