An Alton, Iowa man who is in prison for the murder of a woman 40 years ago has had his sentenced changed, which was prompted by a Supreme Court ruling related to juveniles.

John Mulder, 55, was convicted of the 1976 shooting of 55-year-old Jean Homan, who was found shot dead in her bedroom on April 23, 1976. Mulder had also attempted to shoot her husband, Carl Homan, but the rifle misfired.

At the time of the murder Mulder was only 15. He was convicted of the crime in 1979 and sentenced to mandatory life without parole. To this date Mulder has spent 37 years in prison.

Mulder was resentenced on Wednesday due to the U.S. Supreme Court case Miller v. Alabama, which determined that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment, even for homicide offenses. The ruling requires those previous cases to be reconsidered by a judge with a result of one of three alternatives:

i.     Life without the possibility of parole;

ii.    Life with the possibility of parole after setting a minimum term of confinement before parole eligibility;

iii.    Life with the possibility of parole. 

After hearing arguments over the case the Iowa District Court for Sioux County re-sentenced Mulder to life with the possibility of parole after 42 years before Mulder will be eligible for parole or work release. Mulder has 30 days to appeal this sentence.

The State requested a sentence of life with parole after 45 years. Mulder requested life with parole. The State cited the following DOC disciplinary violations as reasons for a stricter sentence:

a.    On 1/17/1980, Mulder possessed a bomb precursor. Mulder had received charcoal from another inmate, which was stolen from the Furniture shop, and that Mulder felt the inmate was going to utilize it to manufacture gun powder and make a bomb. Mulder was 18 years old.

b.    Between June 1981 and April 1982, Mulder was involved with multiple instances of collecting money and possessing and arranging for drugs to be purchased and introduced into the prison. Mulder was 20 years old.

c.    On 8/22/1989, Mulder had an argument with his at-the-time wife, and escaped from medium custody from a South Dakota Penitentiary. Mulder fled on foot, did not turn himself in, and was apprehended a short time later. Mulder received a 10 year suspended prison sentence from South Dakota for escape, and was no longer able to be supervised out-of-state. Mulder was 28 years old at the time.

d.    Mulder was part of a 1998 tunnel escape attempt which was ongoing for “six” or “seven months” where inmates tunneled just before the exterior prison wall, and inmates were “very close” to getting out. Staff found drills, masonry bits, electric extension cords, goggles, dust masks, gloves, coveralls, candles, pry bars, hammers, alcohol, plexiglass and steel shanks, spurious guard uniforms, and a 20 gauge shotgun made from galvanized water pipe and pipe fittings. Mulder stated he “knew about the shanks and gun” and Mulder’s personal property, marked with his inmate number, was located within the tunnel.

e.    Between 7/26/2013 and 8/20/2013, Mulder and another inmate were utilizing an off-limits room, avoiding surveillance cameras, for inappropriate consensual sexual misconduct. Mulder was also 52 years old at the time.

f.     Throughout Mulder’s incarceration he has been found with marijuana, un-prescribed prescription medication, tobacco, and alcohol.