Will He Get a Second Chance?
“Will he get the third bite at the apple,” is a question manyare asking after Lionel Tate, the youngest child sentenced in theUnited States to life in prison, sits in jail today after he wasarrested last week for allegedly violating the terms of hisprobation.
Tate, 17, was found on September 3 at 2:00a.m. by Broward police with 18-year-old Selford Muir. The twoboys, who deputies say they found “sweating and panting,” claimthey were chasing girls prior to their arrest two blocks fromTate’s home in Pembroke Park, Florida. After giving a falsename, Tate agreed to a search, upon which time a pocket knife with4-inch blade, was found in his pocket.
A probation officer determined last Tuesdaythat Tate violated the terms of his probation, which required himto stay in the immediate proximity of his home, not carry anyweapons, and cooperate fully with law enforcement, the Miami Heraldreported.
Richard Rosenbaum, Tate’s attorney, claimsTate was forced to leave his home following an argument with hismother, a Florida Highway State Patrol Trooper. Tate’scommunity control officer, however, did not believe him when hecalled and reported the incident because the mother maintained Tatewas home at the time.
Taking a Glance Back
In 1999, 12-year-old Tate killed 6-year-oldTiffany Eunich, a playmate his mother was baby-sitting, whileimitating wrestling moves he saw on television. A year later,he was convicted of first-degree murder and served three years of amandatory life sentence before his mental competency at the time ofthe killing made way for his release.
Under the terms of his plea deal, Tate wasordered to serve 10 years probation, complete 1,000 hours ofcommunity service and receive counseling. State law gives thejudge the discretion of imprisoning Tate for anywhere from a fewdays to life. Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus said that Tateunderstood that any violation of the agreement would result inimprisonment.
Henry Hunter, an attorney for Tate’s mothertold the Miami Herald last Wednesday, “It appears that he didn’tcommit a crime or anything. He was out of the house. Ithink this is something we can deal with.”