JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - More than 25 years after the initial crime, a Jackson County man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after a decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The court upheld Stephen McGilberry’s sentence to four life sentences without parole for a 1994 crime.
Stephen McGilberry, now 41, was originally sentenced to death in 1996 for the murder of four family members, including McGilberry’s three-year-old nephew two years prior.
However, in 2005, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty for offenders who committed their capital crimes before reaching the age of 18. McGilberry was 16 at the time of his crimes, so his death sentence was vacated.
McGilberry was then sentenced to four life terms without parole. In a 2012 decision, the U.S. Supreme court held that the mandatory imposition of life without parole for crimes committed before the offender turned 18 violated the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
McGilberry filed two motions to appeal the sentence in 2016, but the court ultimately upheld the initial decision meaning McGilberry will serve four consecutive life sentences without parole.
McGilberry was found guilty for killing his mother, stepfather, half-sister and nephew with a baseball bat. Court documents show McGilberry had premeditated the incident, including placing the weapon outside his bedroom window so he could walk into his house without the baseball bat so as not to arouse suspicion.