BLADEN CO., NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Supreme Court's ruling in the state versus Bowden may be sending a Bladen County murderer home early.
James Pone stabbed and robbed an Elizabethtown taxi driver in 1978. Bladen County courts put him behind bars for life when he was 16 years old. 31 years ago a life sentence meant 80 years in prison.
But after a new Supreme Court ruling, sentencing rules are being revised and redefining what "life" means.
Pone and about 20 other murderers and rapists may be heading back onto the streets.
"I think this is a wake up call especially for lawmakers that they need to fix the loopholes in the law," said Bladen Co. Chief Deputy Phillip Little. "And when we tell a victim's family that this person is locked up for the rest of their life, that's exactly what it needs to be."
James Pone will be 48 if he is released on October 29.
As for the state, the Department of Corrections is now trying to notify all of the victims.