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 sentences.
Defendant: Ethan Allen Windom (17)
Victim: Judith Windom
Crime: Second degree murder
Where: Boise, Idaho
Crime 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 grades.
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 Heritage Foundation.