By CHRISTIN COYNE
FORT WORTH – The Texas Second Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Tuesday in an appeal in the capital murder case against 17-year-old Jacob Ryan Evans, accused of killing his mother and teenage sister in October.
Attorneys for Evans claim the teen is being unlawfully held on a capital murder charge that currently has no available sentence.
Under current state law, the only punishments for capital murder are death or life imprisonment without parole. In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared both punishments unconstitutional for those under 18 years old.
Evans was 17 years old at the time prosecutors say he killed his mother and sister.
Larry Moore, representing Evans, argued that the state should not hold Evans or go forward on a charge in which there is no constitutional punishment.
In January, 415th District Court Judge Graham Quisenberry rejected the argument, and Moore has appealed his decision.
Parker County Assistant District Attorney Edward Lewellen argued that Evan’s attorney’s request was premature.
“We haven’t even had a trial,” Lewellen said. “We don’t even know if he’s guilty of anything. That’s the whole point.”
During questioning by the appellate court, Lewellen suggested that the state legislature might rewrite state law to allow for a lesser punishment for capital murder by the time of a trial in the case.