Man convicted of 1998 rape, murder wants case re-tried in court

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ADA, Okla. (KXII) - Former detective Jeff Crosby says he vividly remembers that tragic day in 1998.

"It was gruesome, she was stabbed numerous times," Crosby said.

Eula Bench, 84 was found lying face down in a pool of blood.

"Just being an elderly lady who lived alone it was a real violent thing," Crosby said.

"I lived a couple blocks away when it happened and it was a real sad moment," Adam Atkinson said.

Derrick Lester and his 18-year-old friend Jason Blevins were convicted of tying up and gagging Bench, then raping her.

Blevins' cousin Adam Atkinson was shocked by the news.

"I didn't believe it at first, but it come out that he did it," Atkinson said.

Blevins is still serving life without parole.

Lester was 15 years old at the time and got the same sentence, but now he could be released.

It's all because of a 2012 US supreme court ruling, Miller v. Alabama.

"That's the constitutional standard to achieve the Supreme Court's goal of individualized sentencing," District Attorney Paul Smith said.

Smith says that case meant that those 17 and under could only get life in prison if a court labeled them "permanently incorrigible" or, irreparably corrupt".

"Proving that one is not permanently incorrigible or irreparably corrupt may be a problem," Smith said, "because both sides will get to present evidence in support of or in opposition to that."

Smith says how Lester has behaved in prison will be a key factor.

"His misconducts (if any), his reprimands, his specific instances of violence or peacefulness,that sort of thing would be what we're looking at the re-sentencing hearing," he said.

Atkinson doesn't think his own cousin should get out, and isn't so sure about Blevins walking free either.

"He's doing time right now, and that's what he deserves," Atkinson said. I mean if he gets out I hope he's a changed man and does right."

The case could go to court this summer.