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|Saturday, March 10, 2001, updated at 10:50(GMT+8)|
14-Year-Old Boy Gets Life Sentence in Wrestling Death in USA 14-year-old boy, convicted of killing a 6-year-old girl while imitating professional wrestlers, was sentenced to life in prison in Florida of the United States Friday.
Broward County Judge Joel Lazarus imposed the mandatory sentence on Lionel Tate, calling the murder of Tiffany Eunick " cold, callous and indescribably cruel."
The defense asked Lazarus to either order a retrial for Tate or reduce the verdict of first-degree murder. But the judge refused to do either and ordered the state's mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
In January, Tate was tried as an adult and convicted by a Broward County jury of first-degree murder in the July 28, 1999, death of playmate Tiffany Eunick. In Florida, such a conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.
The sentence has stirred controversy over what punishment a child of his age should face.
During the trial, Tate's lawyer argued that the boy, who was 12 at the time of the killing, had been trying out moves on Eunick he had seen performed by professional wrestlers on television, not understanding the damage he could do.
However, the prosecutors said the girl's injuries were far too severe for that to be the case.
Tears rolled down Tate's cheeks after the sentence was read. His mother, who earlier described Eunick's death to the judge as a "tragic accident," showed no reaction. Several friends and relatives of the Tate family wailed.
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