A state appeals court reversed four 65-year sentences of a Hillsborough County man convicted of sexually assaulting a high school student and a day care worker when he was a teenager.
Kendrick Morris, 23, will be granted a new sentencing, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, because of a recent ruling that determined imposing lengthy prison terms on juveniles convicted of crimes other than murder is unconstitutional. Those sentences fail to provide them with "a meaningful opportunity" for early release based on maturity and rehabilitation, the opinion reads.
Morris' new hearing may hand him an even longer sentence, up to life in prison, due to recent changes in sentencing guidelines.
He is currently being held at a Wakulla County prison. His release date, according to prison records: 2072.
Morris was convicted of severely beating and raping a high school student who was returning books at the Bloomingdale public library on April 24, 2008. The girl was left unable to walk, talk, see, and is undergoing therapy.
Although Morris could not be sentenced to life in prison at the time, the court stated, "if ever a set of facts called for sentencing a juvenile to life imprisonment, these were the cases."
Morris was 15 when he entered a day care center on June 28, 2007, while wearing a ski mask and holding a knife. Once inside, he demanded money from a woman and then sexually assaulted her, records state.
Friday's ruling does not affect Morris' shorter sentences of 30 years for attempted robbery and 15 years for sexual battery in the day care case, as well as 15 years for aggravated battery in the library case.