Boy who identified Lionel Tate as robber retracts story

[JURIST] A young boy who claimed that Lionel Tate [Wikpedia profile] robbed a pizza delivery man at gunpoint [CNN report] in May "took back" his story Wednesday, which could mean freedom again for Tate, once the youngest American to receive a life prison sentence [Court TV report; Amnesty International legal concern]. Thirteen-year old Taquincy Tomkins said he had named Tate as the robber because he was pressured by the police and also because the person Tomkins says actually robbed the man threatened to kill him. In 2001, when Lionel Tate was 14 years old, he was convicted for the 1999 killing of a 6-year old girl by beating and stomping her to death. Tate's life sentence was appealed and overturned and he was resentenced to receive one year of house arrest and 10 years of probation, which was ongoing when he was re-arrested and charged with the pizza robbery. Tate's original life sentence set off a heated debate about Florida's practice of trying juveniles as adults [Justice Policy Institute study, PDF]. AP has more.

 

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