UPDATE: Supreme Court ruling could open parole for convicted Lillelid murderers

A contributed photo shows the Lillelid family. Peter, 2-years-old at the time, was the only survivor of a brutal shooting in 1997. (WCYB Archive)

There’s now a chance for parole eventually for two of the six young people convicted in the notorious Lillelid triple murder in Greene County.

Today, Tennessee’s Supreme Court issued a clarification about the eligibility of parole for a child convicted of first degree murder.

The court says that any convicted after July 1, 1995, would now become eligible for release after serving a minimum of 51 years in prison.

It was on a rural road near Greeneville that the Lillelid family was shot and killed in 1997.

Six young people admitted they had no motive when they shot 34-year-old Vidar Lillelid, his wife Delfina, and their six year old daughter Tabitha. Their two year old son, Peter, was also shot but survived.

The family was encountered at an Interstate 81 rest area as they were returning home from a Jehovah’s Witness convention in Johnson City.

All six defendants pleaded guilty and were given life without any possibility of parole.

Jason Bryant was 14 and in middle school. Karen Howell was 17. The four others ranged in age from 18 to 20.

Howell was denied a new sentencing hearing by the court earlier this year. Her attorney cited a court decision that ruled juveniles could not receive life sentences under language used in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

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