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Family: Son's aid brought no leniency in murder case

Mitch Nunes said sheriff's detectives were clear: If his 17-year-old son cooperated in a September 2003 homicide investigation, the teen would get favorable treatment from the justice system.

So Garrett Marc Nunes, encouraged by his parents and attorney, confessed his role in the death of 19-year-old Eric Michael Harris in Brandon. He led authorities to the shooter. His parents allowed their Brandon home to be searched and bugged to further aid the investigation.

But Wednesday, prosecutors refused to budge from their plea offer of a 30-year prison sentence for Garrett Nunes. The young man refused to accept it.

As jury selection got under way in his first-degree murder trial, his parents wondered where they went wrong.

"I feel like the system has let us down," said Mitch Nunes.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or