(Rising Sun, Ind.) – Andrew Conley, the Rising Sun teen who strangled his 10-year-old brother to death in 2009, is taking his life sentence to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Conley pleaded guilty to the murder in Ohio Circuit Court in 2010. The teen was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The Associated Press reports Conley’s lawyers are arguing that psychologist James Daum was allowed to testify that he may be a psychopath despite never having met with Conley.
"Speculation inferring that a suicidal 17-year-old boy who had never been in trouble in his life is a psychopath from a doctor who never took the time to even talk with the boy has no place in our courtrooms ... and in a decision as to whether that boy will spend the rest of his life in prison," defense lawyer Leanna Weissmann argued in a court brief.
Conley’s lawyers are seeking a reduction in his sentence from life to 55 years, which could have Conley, now 19, out of prison when he is in his 40s under state sentencing laws.
Arguments will be heard by the Indiana Supreme Court on Monday afternoon in South Bend.
The Rising Sun High School student had dropped out of school just weeks before the murder occurred. Then 17, Conley choked his 10-year-old brother, Conner, to death as they wrestled in their home on Hartford Pike Road the evening on November 28, 2009.
Conley wrapped his brother’s head in plastic bags and duct tape and put the boy’s body into the trunk of Conley’s car. The teen then went to visit his girlfriend before dumping the body at the Rising Sun City Park.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is pushing for Conley’s life sentence to remain.
"Because of defendant's callous acts, his brother will never experience graduating high school, going to prom, driving his first car, having his first love, getting married or having a child of his own," Deputy Attorney General Henry Flores Jr. wrote in his response filed in court, according to the Associated Press report.
Three other experts who examined Conley determined he did suffer from mental illness, but did understand the wrongfullness of his actions when he murdered his brother.