TAMPA, Florida — This guy learned the hard way that sometimes it’s better to just leave things alone.
A twice convicted rapist who had requested a lighter sentence from a Florida court was instead given life in prison after the horrified judge had reviewed the details of the brutal assaults.
Kendrick Morris, 25, had originally been sentenced to 65 years for the 2008 knifepoint attack of a high school senior who was returning books to a library. Prosecutors say the woman was never able to regain the ability to speak, see, walk or eat after the assault and requires round-the-clock care.
Morris had previously been sentenced to life in prison for another vicious rape in 2007 of a 62-year-old daycare center worker, when he was just 15-years-old.
“These crimes were particularly atrocious and cruel,” said Judge Chet Tharpe, who became broken up as he reviewed the evidence of the case, according to WTVT-TV. “Life sentences are the only appropriate sentences in these cases.”
Morris had his sentences overturned when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that long sentences that gave juvenile defendants no meaningful opportunity for release were unconstitutional. The decision meant that 300 inmates across the state who had been convicted as teens were eligible for new sentences.
But the state legislature added a new stipulation to the law that allowed judges to give life sentences in such cases if certain criteria are met.
“I want to say it’s a victory, but it seems wrong to say that,” the high school student victim’s sister said. “But I have to say, I think justice was served.”
Morris’ case will next be up for review in 2031.