A 15-year-old man who murdered a young girl more than 30 years ago — could receive a new sentence.
Christopher Segerstrom was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 1987.
Now the 48-year-old will get a new trial after the Arkansas supreme court ruled in February that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
The possible rehearing for Segerstrom is reopening old wounds for the family of Barbara Thompson.
“I wish I would have got to know her, wish I got to know who she was and who she was going to be,” Barbie’s younger sister, Rachel Wilson said.
Barbara Thompson, known by her loved ones as Barbie, was brutally murdered by 15-year-old Christopher Segerstrom, who took the girl into a wooded area and sexually assaulted her — then bashed her head in with a rock.
After more than 30 years, the family wants Barbie to be remembered in a different light.
“I really want her to be known as Barbie, not the little four-year-old girl that got murdered because she is so much more than that,” Barbie’s mother, Jena Muddiman said.
A girl full of personality and a love for butterflies.
“I’ve got a butterfly tattoo on my shoulder in remembrance of her,” Wilson said.
The re-sentencing hearing has been hard for the whole family.
“I just know I miss her … I miss her a lot,” Muddiman said.
And although Wilson was born three years after Barbie was killed, she still feels the pain.
“Why should he get a second chance at getting out and having a life after he brutally murdered my four-year-old sister,” she said.
Their tight-knit family has been the source of their strength through it all.
“I wouldn’t make it in this world without my mom, Wilson said.
“I’ve got other kids and I’ve got my grandkids, she wouldn’t want me to just give up,” Muddiman said.
Together, the family said they will continue to fight for justice.
“I hope the justice system does what they need to do and keep him where he belongs,” Wilson said.
His murder conviction will stand, but a judge or jury will decide if he’ll instead serve 10 to 40 years or life with the possibility of parole.
Segerstrom attorney Kent McLemore said his client needs an evaluation before a trial to see if he’s mentally fit.
Washington County prosecutor Matt Durrett said he doesn’t believe Segerstrom can be rehabilitated and will remain a danger to society.