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Latest Lionel Tate Sentence Puts End to Court Saga

Posted Feb 20, 2008 12:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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After a nine-year court saga that has drawn international attention, it appears that Lionel Tate can now focus on serving his time.

The 21-year-old was at one point reportedly the youngest person in the U.S. to be sentenced to life in prison. Tate was 12 when he was arrested and charged with the murder of a 6-year-old South Florida playmate, and two years later he was convicted. But his conviction was overturned, and Tate subsequently received a 10-year term of probation for the crime. Violating that probation resulted in a 30-year prison sentence. And for the crime that established the probation violation—robbing a pizza deliveryman in 2005—Tate received a concurrent 10-year prison term after pleading no contest to the armed robbery yesterday, reports the Miami Herald.

''Mr. Tate's been around a long time, his name's been around a long time,'' says Chief Assistant State Attorney Chuck Morton. "He finally put an end to his case. It's really tragic that his life has taken this course and I don't feel good about that at all. But nevertheless, justice is served.''

Tate's scheduled release date from prison is 2031.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "30-Year Sentence Upheld for Lionel Tate"

ABAJournal.com: "Lionel Tate Trial Delayed for Appeals Ruling"

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer Blamed for 30-Year Lionel Tate Sentence"

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