The Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of a boy who was 12 at the time of the crime.
Paul Gingerich pleaded guilty in adult court to helping a friend kill his stepfather in 2010.
The court issued a unanimous decision Tuesday morning, reversing the conviction and sending the case back to juvenile court.
Gingerich was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the case.
He was believed to be the youngest person in Indiana ever sentenced to adult prison.
His attorneys claim he was not competent to stand trial as an adult because of his age.
Colt Lundy was also sentenced to 25 years behind bars. It was Lundy’s stepfather, Phillip Danner, who was killed.
Lundy was 15 at the time of the murder.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office, which represents the prosecution on appeal, is reviewing the opinion and has not yet decided to send the case to the Indiana Supreme Court. Zoeller released this statement after Tuesday's Court of Appeals ruling:
"Among the most disheartening cases seen in the criminal justice system are those involving young people charged with extremely violent crimes. For prosecutors and judges, these are among the most difficult cases as well in terms of balancing the rights of the juvenile with the safety of the community. We will carefully review our options after consulting with the county prosecutor and conducting further research,” Zoeller said.
Gingerich will remain in custody pending further order of the court.
A third boy has already been released from juvenile custody. He was not in the home at the time of the murder.