Sunday, June 24, 2018
News Roundup

Jared Cano's attorney discusses options after judge issues 15-year prison sentence

TAMPA — Jared Cano still has a shot at a second chance.

The 18-year-old accused of planning a massacre at Freedom High School was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for a plot assembled when he was 16.

Cano's attorney had asked for juvenile sanctions and rehabilitation in a mental health treatment program. Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez decided on an adult sentence.

She said it was a difficult case because she faced two choices: Either Cano was deadly serious and many people could have been hurt, or he was a confused boy making empty threats.

Cano's private attorney, Norman Cannella Sr., said Thursday he is considering filing a motion for mitigation, in which the judge can lighten the sentence.

"Let her reconsider the sentence and sentence him more rationally, for God's sake," Cannella said. "I think most people were really surprised at the harshness of that sentence."

Often when considering such a motion, a judge will want to see additional information that was not previously addressed in court, several criminal defense attorneys told the Tampa Bay Times.

"Like a psychiatric report, or a polygraph," said Clearwater attorney Denis deVlaming.

Cannella can also file an appeal in the 2nd District Court of Appeal. The attorney said he plans to dispute the judge's decision not to dismiss Cano's most serious charges despite the fact that, according to the attorney, Cano did not threaten anybody.

Authorities charged Cano with threatening to discharge a destructive device, as well as attempting to make, possess, throw, place, project or discharge a destructive device with intent to harm.

However, Cano's plans were kept hidden in his room. The only other person who knew was a friend, who called police. The plot described in Cano's journal and on cellphone videos was not publicized until after Cano's arrest.

Stetson University College of Law professor Bruce Jacob said the definition of "threat" makes the case murky, especially with regard to the first charge.

"(Cano) disclosed his plans to a friend, but is that a 'threat'?" Jacob asked. "Maybe his lawyer has a chance to win on appeal on that issue."

While some criticized the sentence, most agreed the judge's task was not easy.

If Cano's plans were serious, then the judge's sentence seems reasonable, deVlaming said. If Cano's plans were simply fantasy, "then I think the sentence was excessive," the attorney countered.

He said it all comes down to one question: Do you think Cano really would have done it?

"In these shooting cases, like Columbine, everyone wants to know why something wasn't done to prevent it," said Tampa criminal defense attorney Jeff Paulk. "It's hard to tell if someone is charged before a potential action."

All the judge can go with is the evidence presented, Paulk said.

Paulk represented Austin Cook, a Tampa teen accused of threatening to kill students at Leto High School in 2010. Cook eventually pleaded guilty to threatening to discharge a destructive device, and he was sentenced to two years of community control and eight years of probation.

A much lighter sentence, but much different evidence.

Cano's journal and 13-minutes of cellphone videos describe plans that seem very real, despite the fact that he did not have all the materials needed to make a bomb.

Prosecutors did not have anything like that in Cook's case.

Stetson Law professor Jacob brought up another issue: Cano was charged as an adult for something he was accused of when he was 16. Though transfers to the adult system are common in Florida, it is much more rare nationwide, Jacob said.

"The juvenile mind is not fully formed," Jacob said. "They're not nearly as responsible for their actions as they are in their 20s. Do you really want to put a boy in jail for 15 years when his mind is not really fully formed?"

Times staff writer Stephanie Bolling contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Comments
Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man is dead and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon.A male suspect is in custody and being interviewed by police but his name has not yet be...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

TAMPA — Every year during draft season, players from the Tampa Bay area are selected in the NFL, MLB and even NBA drafts.But NHL?Sure enough, in the third round of Saturday's NHL draft, the Jets selected Nathan Smith, a forward who was born in ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

TAMPA ó Stripped to the girders, the old Bromley office building looked about as substantial as fish bones on a dinner plate.But the 5-story structure proved Sunday it still had a surprising amount of fight left in it.A demolition team had planned to...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays season turning into good one

Rays season turning into good one

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays are not the best team in baseball. They are not going to win the World Series this year. Heck, they probably won't even make the playoffs.But I tell you what. This team is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.And ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays first baseman Jake Bauers sat at his locker after Sunday afternoon's 7-6, 12-inning win over the Yankees and thumbed through his text messages. There was no way he could get through them all. That's what happens when ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover firs...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 4 hours ago
A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

The coast of White Rock, British Columbia, in western Canada looks to be an ideal place for a run, with its sweeping views of the Semiahmoo Bay to the west and scores of waterfront homes and seafood restaurants to the east. Thatís what 19-year-old Ce...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 9 hours ago
President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Updated: 9 hours ago