A man sentenced to life in prison for a double-murder conviction in 1995, then given new hope by a Supreme Court ruling, was re-sentenced Tuesday to natural life without the possibility of parole.
On March 11, 1996, Joseph Arrieta, now 40, was found guilty of murdering Anthony Moore and Edward Riola, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney office.
Arrieta was 17 years old at the time of the murders, just three months shy of his 18nth birthday.
At that time, Illinois law mandated a sentence of natural life in prison without the possibility of parole in the case of double murders, prosecutors said.
But in the 2012 Miller v. Alabama decision, the high court ruled that mandatory sentences of natural life for those under 18 at the time of the crime violates the eighth amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, and anyone in that position must receive a new sentencing hearing.
He was given a new sentencing hearing in August. But on Tuesday, Judge George Bakalis ruled that the original sentence of natural life was correct.
“Judge Bakalis’ decision is absolutely correct,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “In Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence for those under 18 is unconstitutional, not the sentence itself, just the automatic imposition of the life sentence after a finding of guilty.
“This was a cold-hearted, planned killing by a man who, once informed by others that Mr. Moore was still alive after being shot, actually went back to the room where he shot Mr. Moore and shot him again to make sure he was dead. The Miller v. Alabama decision should not have, and did not change Mr. Arrieta’s circumstances. He earned his natural life sentence on March 15, 1995 – the day he murdered two innocent men.”