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Life term reduced for man in '96 slaying

(ran PC edition)

Terry Wayne Franzen Jr., once sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for murder, now has a chance to get out.


On Friday, Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper agreed to a deal between the prosecution and defense _ hammered out under state sentencing laws _ resentenced the 25-year-old man to 23 years in prison. The sentencing guidelines Franzen had been convicted under after his 1997 conviction have since been ruled illegal.

Franzen was arrested after the Jan. 5, 1996, shooting death of 16-year-old Jason Palm. Franzen had been involved in a feud with another man when he admitted to police he opened fire with an assault rifle on the man and a group of other teens _ including Palm _ outside a Dade City convenience store.

Although Franzen told investigators he wanted only to frighten the group, two of the 16 shots he fired struck Palm in the head and shoulder, killing him.

He was convicted in 1997 of second-degree murder, armed burglary and grand theft of a firearm. Tepper sentenced him to life in prison.

Under the adjusted sentencing score sheets, Franzen could have been sentenced to between 13 and 23 years in prison. Appointed defense attorney A.R. "Chip" Mander said he agreed to the 23-year term because he had no grounds under the law to argue for the lower end of the scale.

Tepper said Franzen will get credit for the six years he has already spent in jail and prison.

Franzen, his hair cut short and sporting a goatee, made no statements during the brief hearing Friday but told Tepper he understood what was happening and had no questions.