Defense Succeeds in Avoiding Death Penalty; What is Life Sentence in Florida Capital Case?
Terence Lenamon was victorious this week, as a Florida jury refused to sentence Frantzy Jean-Marie to death for the murders of Armstrong Rivere and his girlfriend Stephanie Adams back in March 2013. For details, read the article written by Charles Rabin and published on July 25, 2018, by the Miami Herald, entitled “Jurors spare life of gang member. He didn’t pull trigger, but will spend life in prison.”
Of note, the description Rabin gives of Terry’s “fiery defense” during the prosecution’s closing arguments, where he “continually lashed out” at statements made by ASA Joshua Weintraub during closing argument.
Terrorist Boyz Trial Ends With Life Sentence
Jean-Marie was found guilty during the first phase of his capital trial that ended last month. That part of the trial took around four months to complete. At its conclusion, Jean-Marie was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder; four counts of attempted murder; and the crimes of conspiracy and racketeering. He was not found guilty by the jury of two murder allegations involving a Terrorist Boyz shooting at a Jumbo’s Restaurant in October 2002.
This week’s decision by the jury concludes the second phase of the capital trial, where the jury decides on sentencing. As we’ve discussed earlier, Florida law has changed. Now, the jury must unanimously agree on capital punishment before the death penalty can be sentenced by the judge. See, Florida Has New Death Penalty Law in March 2017.
What is a Life Sentence in Florida Capital Case?
Now that the jury has made its decision, what does this mean insofar as punishment? The victory here is that the state’s request for death was not granted. There will be no death penalty in this case.
However, as Terry explains in the Miami Herald piece, Frantzy Jean-Marie will never be free from incarceration. He will serve a life sentence, which means spending the rest of his days behind bars in a Florida correctional facility.
As explained by the Florida Department of Corrections, “Persons receiving a life sentence for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1995, will serve a life sentence.” More specifically, from their site:
Parole in Florida was eliminated for non-capital felonies committed on or after July 1, 1984. Capital felonies resulting in a life sentence (instead of the death penalty) remained eligible for parole after serving a mandatory 25-year term. Legislative action taken May 24, 1994, and October 1, 1995, effectively eliminated parole for all capital offenses as well….
For more discussion on Life Sentences, read the Marshall Project’s July 2015 piece entitled “Life Without Parole.”