WATERLOO | Had William J. Nims Jr. been two years younger when he snatched an 8-year-old girl in the 1980s, he may have been eligible for parole under recent Supreme Court decisions that bar life sentences for young offenders.
But the Iowa Court of Appeals did not grant him a break for the two-year difference and upheld his sentence of life without parole in a decision handed down Wednesday.
Nims was 19 when he grabbed the girl as she walked home from school in Waterloo in September 1982 and sexually abused her. He was convicted of first-degree kidnapping and sentenced to mandatory life in prison.
In 2010, the Supreme Court found that life without parole was cruel and unusual punishment for people who committed non-homicide crimes as minors. The decision was extended to murder cases in 2012.
Nims appealed his conviction, drawing parallels with state laws that limit the rights of people younger than 21, court records state.
A district court judge dismissed the case, concluding that there was no precedent to extend the cruel and unusual punishment claim to adult teenagers, according to court records. And the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that decision Wednesday.
Nims, now 50, is serving his sentence at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.