Pennsylvania

Juvenile lifer eligible for parole after serving 41 years

'He remains a remorseless, cold-blooded murderer'

LANCASTER, Pa. - The oldest inmate in a Pennsylvania county who was sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile is now eligible for parole.

Gregory Sourbeer, 56, was re-sentenced to 25 years to life after a court hearing Thursday. He will have a parole hearing at an undisclosed date.

Sourbeer has already served 41 years in prison for the shooting death of his mother, Fannie Sourbeer, in their Columbia home. He was 14 at the time of the shooting.

The man's lawyer said Sourbeer has shown "tremendous remorse" for his mother's death in 1976, however, prosecutors pointed out that Sourbeer’s testimony Thursday included no mention of his mother or the impact of his crime.

"Mr. Sourbeer had over 40 years to think about what he would say when given a real chance at parole and he did not say a single word about his victim, his mother, or the devastation and fear his crime initiated," Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said after the hearing. "He remains a remorseless, cold-blooded murderer, but now he will be free."

Two longtime friends of Sourbeer’s testified that Sourbeer, if he is paroled, will live with them in New Holland.

Sourbeer’s brother and the brother's sister-in-law were in court to oppose Sourbeer being paroled.

As part of his new sentence, Sourbeer is to have no contact with his brother or his family. Also, he is not permitted in the municipalities where his family members live.

Sourbeer's re-sentencing comes after the U.S. Supreme Court found in 2012 life without parole sentences for juveniles could qualify as a cruel and unusual punishment. The court ruled in 2016 that the decision could be applied retroactively.

Lancaster County has 11 other cases in which inmates are serving life terms for killings they committed as juveniles.

Berks County has nine such cases. The first was addressed in September with the re-sentencing of Wayne Goodman to 27 years to life in prison for the 2003 murder of Robert Duson.

District Attorney John Adams told 69 News that he hopes to have all of the re-sentencing cases resolved in the next six months.


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