(ran PC edition)
Circuit Judge Maynard Swanson on Friday berated 19-year-old Lionell Kendall Mitchell for a "brutal, totally unnecessary killing" and sentenced him to the maximum 15 years allowed by law.
Mitchell had dodged a possible life sentence when a jury convicted him in September of manslaughter and assault instead of the first-degree murder and carjacking charges he was facing.
As she left the courtroom Friday, his mother said the 15-year term was not as bad as it could have been, and she hoped her son would learn from the lesson.
Mitchell was arrested at age 16 and accused of taking part in the Aug. 9, 1999, abduction and killing of Daniel Max Boyko, a 76-year-old Trilby man. Boyko had been pushed into the back seat of his own car, driven into the woods, beaten, stomped and choked to death.
Two other teens _ Jesse Ray Allen, then 16, and Damani Emmanuel, then 18 _ were also charged and are awaiting trail. Mitchell is now listed as a prosecution witness against both.
Mitchell declined to speak when the judge asked if he had anything to say. His attorney, A.J. Ivie, argued that Mitchell was very young when the crime happened.
At his trial, Mitchell testified. He admitted he was present for the attack but denied taking part.
"Sixteen-year-olds can kill as easily as 30-year-olds," Swanson said. "This was a particularly brutal, totally unnecessary killing."
Turning to Mitchell, the judge added, "So far as I'm concerned, the only way society is going to be safe is to put you away. You can't live with other people."
At first, the judge went along with the state's recommendation of 20 years in prison. Ivie argued that's above the maximum sentence allowed for manslaughter, and the judge relented, coming down to a 15-year term.
"I'm not going to squabble over it," Swanson said.
Ivie noted that Mitchell will get credit for the more than 800 days he spent in jail awaiting trial and sentencing.
Mitchell's mother, Margaret, was calm as she left the courtroom.
"Fifteen is okay. Maybe he'll learn," she said. "He wishes he hadn't been there that night."