TAMPA — Brendan Lee Terry will spend 30 years in prison for his role in the grisly murder of Robert Brewer, who was stabbed multiple times and set on fire in a Brandon trash bin.
On Thursday, Terry pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. He also pleaded guilty to kidnapping.
Terry, 20, was initially charged with first-degree murder and would have faced a minimum of life in prison. The state was seeking the death penalty.
That's what Lynn Colicci, Brewer's mother, was hoping he would get.
Colicci and three other family members attended the hearing. Brewer's father and brother stayed home because they were so upset Terry would get only 30 years.
"I don't think it's fair," she said. "He gets to wake up every morning. He took that choice from my son."
Authorities say Terry and his roommate Kasey Ackerman, 21, stabbed Brewer repeatedly and set him on fire. Court records state that Terry talked to Brewer as he lay bleeding in a bathtub and told his victim to say his prayers.
Three other roommates also have been arrested in Brewer's death. One of them, David Link, 19, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and was sentenced last month to three years in prison.
"Are you pleading guilty because you're guilty and for no other reason?" Circuit Judge William Fuente asked Terry.
"Yes, sir," he replied.
Terry's case will not go to trial because he took the plea deal. He also won't be forced to testify in his co-defendants' cases, attorneys said.
Randy Morris, Terry's roommate, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping Thursday, said Assistant State Attorney Sean Keefe. He was arrested earlier this month after more evidence emerged, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Ackerman still faces a charge of first-degree murder, for which the state is seeking the death penalty.
Colicci said she hopes the state will continue to pursue the death penalty in Ackerman's case. She used to be against capital punishment, but her son was humiliated and tortured for hours, she said.
"I have to go to the cemetery to visit my son now," she said, crying. "I'll never be able to hear his voice, be able to hear him say, 'I love you, mama.' "
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.