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Life Sentence To Lionel Tate

by Mario Clarke



Lionel Tate, age 12 was convicted on charges of second degree murder on the killing of Tiffany Eunick this past March. According to Tate's lawyers, James Lewis and Richard Rosenbaum, the twelve-year-old did not deliberately kill the six-year-old. On July 28, 1999 the two were left unattended at his mother's home in Pembroke Park, Fort Lauderdale Florida. There while playing, Tate, mimicking a wrestling move he had seen on television, attempted a body slam move, which led to the killing of young Tiffany Eunick.

Judge Lazarus, who sentenced Tate at age 14, described the crime as "cold, callous and indescribably cruel" and "not the playful acts of a child". The judge suggested that Tate should not be treated as a child but as an adult. How can Lazarus suggest not treating Tate as a child if he is a child?

How can a judicial system sentence a boy who was twelve years old at the time of the incident, to life imprisonment without parole? How can you put a kid in a place where there are rapists, molesters, and killers?

The verdict seems harsh for a 14-year-old. In my mind, I would believe that the incident was an accident rather than that of murder.

I feel that the judge jumped to conclusions and was rather hasty to sentence the young Tate. This trial is unlike most trials. A child's life is at risk. To cut is childhood so short, before it has even begun will be detremental to young Tate, and can only have devastating results.

Lionel Tate's mother Kathleen-Grossett-Tate turned down a plea bargain which would have Lionel plead guilty to 2nd degree murder and serve three years in a juvenile detention center and 10 years of probation.

This case makes you wonder where our judicial system is headed, and whether or not we have changed that much in the last century.



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