TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A convicted murderer who was on death row when New Jersey abolished the death penalty can still be sentenced to life without parole.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a jury can decide the appropriate sentence for Steven Fortin.

Fortin was sentenced to lethal injection in 2001 for raping and murdering a Woodbridge woman in 1994. By the time he was to be sentenced after being retried in 2007, New Jersey had eliminated the death penalty and replaced it with life without parole.

Fortin argued that he should be sentenced to life with a chance of parole after 30 years, the maximum sentence available in 1994 when the crime took place.

Fortin also served a prison sentence in Maine for raping a female state trooper in 1995. 

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.