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Teen gets life sentence in ex-girlfriend's death

Seven months after he dragged his bloodied ex-girlfriend to a trash bin and left her to die, 16-year-old Rocky Almestica Jr. learned he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Emily Clemons, 16, died in June, soon after being found with a crushed skull in a trash bin at a North Tampa apartment complex.

Prosecutors said Almestica and then-girlfriend Laisha Landrum had teamed to beat Clemons on the head with pots and a hammer, then tried to get rid of her.

Almestica's defense attorneys blamed the killing on Landrum, but a jury in November convicted Almestica of second-degree murder in connection with the death.

Landrum is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder and evidence tampering.

"Emily is gone from me forever," the victim's mother, Donna Clemons, told Hillsborough Circuit Judge J. Rogers Padgett, just before he imposed the life sentence.

At the hospital, she said, her daughter was so badly beaten that she couldn't recognize her. She knew it was her daughter because she recognized her only by her fingernails.

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