Supreme Court upholds murder sentence

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A sentence of 99 years without parole has been upheld by the Alaska Supreme Court against Maureen Malloy, convicted in the 1995 kidnapping, torture, and first-degree murder of Kathryn Harms.

Superior Court Judge Elaine Andrews sentenced Malloy to a total of 159 years for her crimes, but 99 of those were to be served without parole. The parole restriction was the focus of the appeal.

Generally, convicts can apply to the Alaska Parole Board for release after serving one-third of a sentence.

Andrews restricted Malloy's parole eligibility because she ruled at sentencing that Malloy had ''subjected the murder victim to substantial physical torture'' before knifing her to death in Anchorage. A law that was relatively new at the time requires 99 years without parole for murders that include torture.

The defense argued that torture was a separate crime from murder and had to be heard and decided by a jury.

The Court of Appeals agreed in a 2000 decision, but prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court and won in a decision issued Friday.

As long as the added punishment is permitted under existing sentencing laws, requiring parole restriction in cases involving torture is legal, the court ruled.

Judges are allowed to restrict parole in any case as long as they lay out their reasons for doing so. Andrews said she would have restricted Malloy's parole even without the law requiring her to do so, so the sentence would stand anyhow, the court said.

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