A Bedford County man serving life without parole for a woman's 2016 robbery and murder will be resentenced yet again.
Pennsylvania's Superior Court ordered the move in a 20-page opinion, indicating the Bedford County Court imposed the sentence against Deauntay Dontaz Moye, 21, without establishing in court that the young man was beyond rehabilitation.
Moye was 16 at the time he and another teen planned a marijuana deal-turned homicide in Woodbury Township that claimed 21-year-old Stephanie Waters.
Prosecutors said the pair, who posed for Facebook photos holding a revolver in a haze of smoke, wanted to live a cold-blooded "gangsta" lifestyle and initiated themselves into the world by planning the robbery, killing Waters and then driving her car to Blair County while her body was still in the car.
Since that time, the U.S. and Pennsylvania supreme courts have risen the threshold required for a juvenile to receive life without parole.
For it to be considered, prosecutors must provide enough evidence to show that juvenile – beyond a reasonable doubt – is "unable to be rehabilitated" in the future.
The state's highest court ruled that prosecutors did not meet that burden during previous sentences, particularly after a defense psychiatrist said Moye showed remorse for his actions, admitted what he did was wrong and wanted to improve his life.
That expert, Pittsburgh Psychiatrist Bruce Wright testified Moye was taking leadership courses, completed substance abuse programs and "will mature with time" and continued support – testimony that prosecutors did not attempt to counter through their own expert.
"The ultimate issue here is not the crime committed, but whether the offender is capable of rehabilitation," Superior Court judges John Bender and John Musmanno wrote. "Accordingly, we conclude that the life sentence without parole for Moye is disproportionate ... and thus violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
A new sentencing date for Moye has not yet been scheduled in Bedford County, court officials said Tuesday.