By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV

CONCORD, NH (CBS) -The convicted mastermind of a brutal murder of a New Hampshire mother could get a second chance at parole because of a United States Supreme Court Ruling.

The Court ruled Monday that mandatory life without parole sentences are unconstitutional when the defendant is under the age of 18.

Steven Spader was just 17 when he and Christopher Gribble murdered Kimberly Cates in a gruesome machete attack and home invasion. They severely injured her young daughter Jamie.

Under New Hampshire law, both Spader and Gribble received mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole.

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But now because of Spader’s age, the Supreme Court ruling calls that sentence into question.

“Essentially what the courts are saying is youth is an important factor that the court must take into account,” said Spader’s attorney Andrew Winter.

Winter believes the ruling applies to his client though at this point, he’s not sure to what extent. It could mean Spader gets a chance to ask for parole.

“The best case would be some type of reduction or some kind of mitigation to life without parole,” Winter explained.

The prosecutor in the case Jeff Strelzin says he too is looking at what the decision means for the Spader case.

Still, Strelzin says, even if the court re-considers parole in Spader’s case, he will pay for his crimes.

“He’s going to have to serve 77 to life on all of his other charges anyway,” Strelzin explained.

“So regardless of what happens here, he’s probably not going to ever get out of prison?” asked WBZ-TV. “That’s the hope and expectation,” Strelzin replied.

For the Cates’ friends, it’s hard to imagine seeing Spader as a juvenile. Jamie Cates’ karate teacher says the attack affected everyone.

“If you are that close to being considered an adult and you do a crime as heinous as that, you should be tried as an adult,” said Jim Peacock.

“He shouldn’t have the chance to get out of jail for the things he did,” Peacock’s son Nicholas added.

Both attorneys agree a decision on Spader’s circumstances are a long time off.

The Cates family did not wish to comment.


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