GUILTY FL - Tiffany Eunick, 6, beaten to death, Pembroke Park, 28 July 1999

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by Jeana (DP), Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Appellate judges ordered a new trial Wednesday for a teenager serving a life sentence for killing a 6-year-old playmate, raising questions about whether child murderers are competent to be tried as adults and locked away with no hope of parole.

    The judges at the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that Lionel Tate's first-degree murder conviction and life sentence should be reversed because Tate's competency should have been evaluated before the trial. The boy's lawyers had claimed he was imitating pro wrestlers when he killed Tiffany Eunick in July 1999.


    Tate's family turned down a plea bargain before the trial that would have given him a three-year sentence.


    "A competency hearing should have been held particularly given the complexity of the legal proceedings" and Tate's age and known learning disabilities, the judges wrote in a nine-page ruling.


    At a minimum, the court said, the judge had an obligation to ensure that Tate understood the plea offer and the possibility that he could get a life sentence if he rejected it.

    Article at:

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...&u=/ap/20031210/ap_on_re_us/wrestling_death_4
     
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  3. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    It doesn't say it in this snippet, but this boy was 12 years old at the time of the death. They gave him life in prison. I don't think I'm harddened enough that I'm willing to give up on a 12 year old and stuff him in prison for life for one stupid (yes VERY, VERY STUPID) mistake.
     
  4. Arielle

    Arielle New Member

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    I agree Jeana. I was reading this too and I was very sad for both kids and families. I can understand the little girl's family wanting "justice" done for their little girl, but I don't think taht life in prison for a stupid mistake in childhood is necessary. I hope he gets out with time served and counseling.
     
  5. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    Well all he's going to get now is a new trial. But, this will at least give the prosecutor time to come up with an offer for them to plead to a lesser charge, which it looks like they should have done the first time. If the jury could look this boy in the face when he was younger and give him life, now that he's 16, he doesn't want that to happen again. I think they should offer him something close to guilty of first degree manslaughter and, with time served, maybe only add a few years to his sentence, making him be released when he's 21 years old - PROVIDED he get counselling and job training while incarcerated.
     
  6. Casshew

    Casshew Former Member

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    I wonder what made them think it was not an 'accident'

    Gosh... you should see my sister's kids horsing around, I am always saying "Someone's going to get hurt" maybe there is more to it than we know... maybe this kid was in trouble before, hurt people before :dontknow:

    Cass...
     
  7. Toth

    Toth Inactive

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    This 'wrestling' thing was probably concocted as a defense.
    I've heard he has been a bit of a problem even in the juvenile detention center.
     
  8. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    I heard that too. I think he has impulse control problems, but hopefully can get help before he turns into a complete monster, which is what prison will teach him. I hope he can get some help.
     
  9. Amraann

    Amraann Former Member

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    For some reason I recall that he was emotionally delayed, He was possibly mentally delayed as well.
    ANother thing that bothers me is that HIS PARENTS refused the 3 year deal yet the child was prosecuted as an adult. Why was it left up to the parents to decline if he was being prosecuted as an adult?
     
  10. ajt400

    ajt400 Guest

    Certainly, Jeana, if he is not hardened now, he will be once serving in a prison!
     
  11. sarainak

    sarainak Inactive

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    Lionel Tate, the teen who had his conviction overturned in the "accidental 'wrestling' death "of a six-year old girl, has been arrested for being in violation of his probation....
    I have followed this story since day one. I am still not sure what to think, being so young at the time, but then again...any thoughts?



    http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/09/08/wrestling.death.ap/index.html
     
  12. Timex

    Timex Retired WS Staff

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    As sad as it is, IMO this young man will always lead a life of crime. Being in the system at such a young age has taught him "the ropes". Can the cycle be broken? Yes...do I think it will in this case? No.
     
  13. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    I agree with Timex. Whether or not he was destined for a life of crime, the three years he spent in prision taught him well. I hope they can put a stop to this, otherwise its another black youth in the system for life.
     
  14. VespaElf

    VespaElf Little Miss Showcase(runner-up)

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    Im w/ you Sara.........I've been unsure what to think exactly and with this latest story......... :confused:
     
  15. MysteryMomma

    MysteryMomma Inactive

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    I think this young man might be lost to good society.....I'm not sure if it was nuture or nature that has lead him down this path........
     
  16. Timex

    Timex Retired WS Staff

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    A combination of things in my opinion. At the time of the original crime, he was but a child. His size was misleading to those that saw him. His low IQ coupled with immaturity led to a disaster. I watched the trial, and I really dont think he ever intended to hurt, let alone kill the little girl. I do feel the mother should have some responsibility in the childs death. I cannot imagine anyone sleeping through the ruckus that must have taken place in that home. He has now spent his adolecent years in jail. The years when he should be forming positive peer relationships, and figuring out just who he is, and who he will become. What could anyone really expect him to become?
    We had a case here where a 14 year old was sentenced to 35 years. That will allow him his freedom when he is 49 years old. What can society REALLY expect this person to do when he gets out of prison? Over 1/2 his life will have been spent among the worst our society has. He will have been taught, not by academic educators, but by theives, killers, drug users etc. Do we truely expect him to leave prison and become a productive member of society at that point?
     
  17. MysteryMomma

    MysteryMomma Inactive

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    Gladiator Academies.......they only produce criminals.....
     
  18. sarainak

    sarainak Inactive

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    I also agree that the mother should share some of the responsibility. She was upstairs sleeping and the kids were downstairs making noise. When she asked/yelled about the noise, Lionel said it was the little girl. His mom didn't even go downstairs to check right away what it was! If she had, that little girl may have had a chance.

    Regardless, of whether it intentional(he would've gotten three years for pleading) or accidental..Two young lives have been permanently destroyed. I think that this is/was a case that should've been handled better by the SYSTEM.
     
  19. deputylinda

    deputylinda Former Member

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    in florida VOP means NO BOND and he could be sentenced to complete his initial life sentence. i will be watching with great interest to see what the judge does here. as an aside...his mother was a cop and i was incredulous when she turned down the original plea deal/offer. she was very foolish for someone who should know the system. JMO
     
  20. Timex

    Timex Retired WS Staff

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    The decision should not have been the mothers to make. It should have been Lionels, since he is the one that would have to live with the decision. If, at 12 years old, the court did not feel he was capable of making such a decision, how then can the court possibly feel he should have been tried as an adult?
     
  21. deputylinda

    deputylinda Former Member

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    Lionel was not competent at his age to decide on plea. the judge will ajudicate a juvie as an adult if severity of crime warrants it. his mom flat out refused to deal with DA and lionel would have been free at 18 if she had...a small price to pay for killing the little girl. in fact, i hold the mother partially responsible for criminal negligence at the very least. she was "adult" in the house. the whole case was fraught with problems, and lionel got more than a fair deal when he was freed. :twocents:
     

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