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New Twist in Murder Trial Involving Newton Teen

The case of Benjamin Peirce could end up at state Supreme Court.

The case of a Newton man accused of killing a Waltham man could reach the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The attorney for , has filed a motion he said is intended to have his his client avoid automatically being sentenced to life in jail without parole if convicted at trial. Peirce's attorney, John Salsberg, and Middlesex County District attorneys discussed the issue during a Friday, Oct. 12 hearing at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. 

Salsberg told Patch that the motion would have an appeals court review the issue of whether Peirce can be sentenced to life in prison without the possiblity of parole, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants under 18 cannot automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

Massachusetts state law, however, requires defendants convicted of first degree murder automatically receive a sentence of life in prison without parole. Peirce was 17 when he allegedly helped murder Coveney in 2010. 

Salsberg cited the case of Alabama vs. Miller in which the U.S. Supreme Court made the ruling, according to SCOTUS Blog, a website operated by Reuters.

Eventually, the case could be sent to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Salsberg said.

The case is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 26. Judge Kathe Tuttman, during the hearing, said that if the case does go to trial, she wants to complete it by the end of 2012. She estiamted the case would take one week. 

 and a jury recently found Daniel Louis guilty of murder in the case.

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