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2 in Massachusetts sentenced to life without parole as juveniles get 1st chance at release

Two Massachusetts men sentenced to life in prison without parole as juveniles will be the first to get a chance at freedom.

Parole hearings will be held Thursday for 38-year-old Joseph Donovan and 37-year-old Frederick Christian, who've both been incarcerated since they were 17. In December, the state's highest court struck down mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling followed a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision citing scientific research showing juveniles' brains were less developed, making them less accountable than adult offenders.

The men each were charged with participating in a felony that resulted in murder. Neither was responsible for an actual death. They're among 63 inmates serving juvenile life without parole sentences in Massachusetts.

West Virginia and Hawaii have outlawed mandatory life sentences this year.

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