WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- At least 73 people, mostly members of minority groups, are locked up in U.S prisons with no hope of release for crimes committed when they were 13 or 14.
While notorious serial killers like Charles Manson, convicted of killing seven people in California, and David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer in New York, get parole hearings, if not release, Quantel Lotts, now 23, is not eligible for parole for a crime he committed when he was 14. Lott, a Missouri prison inmate, stabbed his stepbrother during a scuffle that began as friendly roughhousing.
"They locked me up and threw away the keys," Lotts told CNN. "They took away all hope for the future."
About 2,000 people convicted of killings before they turned 18 are serving life without parole.
Like many young killers, Lotts had a bleak childhood. He grew up in a crack house and was neglected and sexually molested. His stepmother admits that at the time her son died she and Lotts' father often left their children on their own while they smoked crack.
A few states specifically bar life without parole for juveniles. But 19 allow the sentence for teens as young as 13.