GREAT FALLS – A man sentenced to life in prison without parole at the age of 17 appeared in court Thursday for a re-sentencing hearing.
In 1986, Steven Keefe received three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for killing a husband and wife and their daughter during a Great Falls burglary in October 1985.
Keefe was just 88 days from his 18th birthday. Before the murders, he committed 47 crimes as a juvenile.
Since then, the United States Supreme Court ruled the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole for juveniles unconstitutional.
The national ACLU represented Keefe in district court Thursday.
Family members of the victims, David, Constance and Marian McKay, were in the courtroom.
The state recommended keeping the sentence the same while the defense asked Judge Pinski to consider a sentencing with parole.
After four hours of hearing testimony from witnesses, victim impact statements, closing arguments and hearing from Keefe himself, Judge Pinski sentenced him again to three consecutive life terms without parole.
While handing down the sentence, Judge Pinski said, “This is one of the worst crimes in Cascade County.”
Keefe is now 49 years old.