By Cully Stimson
On November 9th, the U.S. Supreme
Court will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of juvenile
life without parole (JLWOP) sentences. In preparation for oral arguments, JLWOP:
Faces & Cases will be an on-going series on The Foundry that will tell real
stories about juvenile offenders who are currently serving LWOP
Defendant: Ethan Allen
Victim: Judith Windom
Second degree murder
Where: Boise, Idaho
date: January 25, 2007
Sentence: Life without parole
Ethan Allan Windom battered his mother with a barbell and then killed her
with a kitchen knife.
Ethan Allan Windom lived with his mother, Judith Windom, in Boise, Idaho.
Judith was a high school teacher and worked with disabled students. Ethan
attended the local public high school, where he received good
Windom was an avid weight lifter and took creatine, a supplement, to enhance
his weight-lifting ability. At the time he murdered his mother, he was 5’8”
tall, weighed 220 pounds, and was very muscular.
Windom bullied his mother. He took her master bedroom for himself and turned
the living room into a weight-lifting and exercise room, leaving a cramped
bedroom for his mother.
Windom became obsessed with a fictional character from the book and movie “American Psycho.” The character wore a suit and lived a “clean” life by day but committed crimes at night. In time, Windom began to wear a suit to school.
On the night of, January 25, 2007, while his mother was asleep, Windom armed
himself with a barbell and savagely beat her, striking her head repeatedly. Then
he then stabbed her with a kitchen knife until she was dead.
Windom replaced the voicemail greeting on their home telephone with one
explaining that he and his mother were away on a trip. He then walked across
town to his father’s residence. It was the middle of the night. He woke his
father and step mother, telling them that someone had hurt his mother. They
called the police.
After Windom was arrested, he explained that he had been thinking about
killing someone for some time.
Although charged with first degree murder, Windom struck a plea agreement and
pled guilty to second degree murder. He was sentenced to life without the
possibility of parole.
Charles D. Stimson is Senior Legal Fellow and Andrew M. Grossman is
Senior Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The