Man Convicted For Robbery As A Teen, Now Fights What Might Be The Harshest Punishment In America

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A Virginia man who took part in a robbery as a teen is now fighting his controversial sentence.

Travion Blount, now 23, was one of three people to take part in a 2006 armed robbery in which no one was hurt. He was 15 at the time, and the two accomplices were 18. Together, they raided a house party and stole cellphones and a small amount of cash and marijuana.

Blount was the only minor taking part in the robbery, yet he somehow received a significantly harsher sentence.

He refused a plea deal and was found guilty after the incident. He was given six life sentences plus another 118 years. It’s believed to be the longest sentence in the country given to a teenager for a crime other than murder.

In contrast, his accomplices accepted plea bargains and received just 10-year and 13-year sentences.

To date, Blount has served seven years in a maximum-security prison for the crime, and now he wants to revisit the case. He and a lawyer have filed an appeal asking officials to rethink his sentence, arguing that the punishment is significantly more severe than the crime calls for.

There is no arguing that the crime committed was trivial,” the appeal reads. “What is arguable is the fact that, out of the three individuals who committed the crime, only one person will die in prison.”

The appeal has been sent to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in hopes that he will grant a conditional pardon before he leaves office. Blount said he would abide by any conditions Gov. McDonnell places on a pardon.

We are aware of this case and it is working its way through the normal process,” McDonnell’s spokesperson Taylor Keeney told The Associated Press.

Appeals have already been rejected by state and federal courts. State attorneys told Blount to try for geriatric release when he turns 60, which would mean another 37 years behind bars.

Such denials have led Blount and his lawyer to seek political recourse. “It’s time to bring this into the political arena as well as the legal arena,” Blount’s lawyer John Coggehall said.