Man Sentenced in 1996 Vampire Killings Granted New Sentencing Hearing

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TAVARES – Howard Scott Anderson has served 20 years for his role in the 1996 ‘Vampire killings’ in Eustis. Sentenced to life in prison without parole as a teenager in 1998, Anderson has recently been granted a new sentencing hearing.

In 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled that juveniles sentenced to life without parole were entitled to new hearings. The Supreme Court ruled that a child’s brain is still developing at these ages, and the inmates in question may have lacked the impulse control to be held responsible for their actions at the time of their crimes.

Defense teams for Anderson and other inmates this ruling affects will be looking for mitigating circumstances such as brain injuries, mental illness, their childhoods, and even their behavior since being incarcerated.

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Anderson was convicted in the 1996 murders of Richard Wendorf and Ruth Queen along with cult leader, Rod Ferrell. Ferrell was sentenced to death, though the sentence was later overturned and reduced to life in prison due to his age at the time of the murders. Thanks to the US Supreme Court ruling, Anderson may one day be granted parole if his defense team can prove he meets the criteria. These tests will involve measuring Anderson’s deficiencies and development.

The date of Anderson’s new sentencing hearing has not been set yet. A hearing is slated for this month. Anderson is currently being held in the Lake County Jail as of Monday.

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