A minimum 22-year jail term imposed on one of the killers of schoolboy Thomas Devlin was excessive, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Judges held that Nigel Brown's tariff should be reduced by two years because he disclosed his involvement in the attack, aiding the police investigation.
But they rejected accomplice Gary Taylor's challenge to being ordered to serve at least 30 years in prison for carrying out the stabbing in August 2005.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan pointed out that Taylor had gone out armed with a knife intent on carrying out a random and motiveless killing.
He said: “Murders on such a basis naturally strike fear in the minds of those within the local community because such conduct is the mark of the serial killer.”
Fifteen-year-old Thomas was knifed to death near his north Belfast home while out buying sweets and drinks. He suffered stab wounds to the chest, abdomen, arm, hip and face.
His friend Jonathan McKee was also attacked and stabbed in the stomach.
Taylor (26) of Mountcollyer Avenue, Belfast, and Brown (29), from Whitewell Road in the city, were both found guilty of murdering and attempting to murder the two boys. Both men's appeals against conviction were dismissed last November.