PENSACOLA, Fla. (Nov. 14) -- Two teen-age brothers pleaded guilty Thursday to killing their father with a baseball bat, ending an unusual case in which prosecutors used contradictory theories in trying both the boys and a family friend.
Derek King, 14, and Alex King, 13, both admitted to third-degree murder and arson after court-ordered mediation. Derek was sentenced to eight years in prison and his brother received seven years.
Both boys entered their pleas in clear, strong voices and told the judge they understood what they were doing. Their mother had made a last-ditch plea to the court, saying the boys should have a mental examination because they lacked the competency to make decisions in the case.
The case had drawn widespread attention in part because prosecutors presented evidence at one trial that the family friend, Ricky Chavis, a convicted child molester, was the killer and in a second trial argued that the boys did it. Chavis was acquitted, but the boys were convicted.
Circuit Judge Frank Bell took the unusual step of ordering mediation in an effort to settle the case after throwing out the second-degree murder convictions against the boys.
Mediator Bill Eddins presented the agreement to Bell after a final negotiating session Wednesday with the prosecutor and defense lawyers.
8 years....7 years....for taking their father's life. Disgusting.