Man convicted as teen in Lillelid murders sentence challenge delayed

Jason Bryant

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Jason Bryant, who was given three life sentences with no parole for killing members of the Lillelid family in Greene County when he was 14 in 1997, has been granted a stay in his challenge of his sentence.

The next year Bryant, along with five others, was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for his role in the deaths of Vidar and Delfina Lillelid and their six-year-old daughter Tabitha. The family’s two-year-old son Peter survived the shooting that took place in Greene County.

Earlier this year Bryant filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Middle Tennessee arguing that his sentence was unconstitutional based on recent Supreme Court rulings that mandatory life with no parole for minors violates the Eighth Amendment.

Bryant named the warden of his prison as one of two respondents in his petition. In June, the respondents asked the court for the matter to be transferred to the Eastern District of Tennessee, which is based in Greeneville. That motion was granted.

Bryant appealed the transfer of his case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, saying in part that all witnesses in the case are in the Middle District, his pro bono attorney is based in the Middle District, and that a move to the Eastern District would jeopardize his pro bono representation.

In July, Bryant asked for and was granted a stay in the proceedings by the Eastern District judge until the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals makes a ruling on the transferring of his case.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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