When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles could not be subject to mandatory sentences of life without parole, state prosecutors were forced to revisit the case of Jamaal Coltherst.
On Oct. 15, 1999, when he was 17, Coltherst, and another man, Carl Johnson, both of East Hartford, kidnapped and murdered Kyle Holden, a sales manager from Avon. Coltherst had been out of jail for 12 hours when he and Johnson, then 18, ambushed Holden.
A day and a half later, Coltherst and Johnson shot and seriously wounded an insurance executive in Wethersfield.
He was sentenced to life without parole, among other sentences, and his attorney has asked the court to reconsider that. The case was scheduled for Wednesday, in Superior Court in Hartford, but was continued.
Coltherst was convicted on Dec. 28, 2001, of capital felony, felony murder, murder, first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, first-degree robbery and larceny for the carjacking and killing of Holden in East Hartford.
Because he was 17 at the time of the crime, Coltherst was not eligible for the death penalty. Judge John F. Mulcahy Jr. sentenced Coltherst to life in prison without parole, as required by the capital felony conviction, and added 71 years for the other crimes.
In June 2002, Judge Carmen E. Espinosa sentenced Coltherst to 85 years, consecutive to the earlier sentences, for the carjacking and shooting of the Wethersfield insurance executive.
Mulcahy's 71-year sentence and Espinosa's 85-year sentence both will stand, so Coltherst will die in prison.
But based upon the Supreme Court decision, Coltherst's lawyer, John Walkley of New Haven, has asked that the sentence of life without parole be revisited, and that Coltherst be resentenced.
That was supposed to come up Wednesday in Superior Court in Hartford, but Walkley asked for a continuance so he could bring in an expert to testify about whether Coltherst's brain was fully developed when he joined in the killing of Holden.
Judge Joan K. Alexander, known for handing out tough sentences, will handle the request. If she agrees drop the life without parole sentence and substitute another sentence, it will be on top of the 156 years Coltherst is now serving.
The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21.