Convicted rapist Kendrick Morris seeks resentencing
Eric Glasser, WTSP
Since the Supreme Court ruling that allows juvenile offenders to seek a resentencing hearing if they received life terms or the equivalent, there has been a flurry of such cases in the Tampa Bay area.
A couple of weeks ago, Nicholas Lindsey, who had been convicted of murdering St. Petersburg Police officer Dave Crawford, sought a reduction.
The judge in that case, however, decided Lindsey's life sentence was appropriate.
A week ago, it was a different outcome for Floyd LaFountain. Sentenced to life 23 years ago for a murder LaFountain was 16 at the time that he and two friends went to rob a Tampa man but one of the other teens shot and killed the victim.
Both prosecutors and Fountain's defense lawyers decided 23 years had been long enough.
On Thursday, no such agreement in Hillsborough County Court, when it comes to the resentencing hearing for 25-year-old Kendrick Morris.
Morris was convicted of the brutal 2008 assault and rape of Queena Phu outside the Bloomingdale library in Hillsborough County.
To this day, Queena is blind, immobile, has to eat through a feeding tube, and is under the constant watch of family members and caretakers.
Using the same Supreme Court ruling, Morris' attorneys have asked for a resentencing hearing, hoping to knock decades off his 65-year sentence.
A psychiatrist testified in court Thursday in Morris's defense. He said Morris' brain had developed over the years, and considered him to be capable of rehabilitation.
Queena's family and friends packed half of the public gallery inside the courtroom. Most of them were wearing pink as a sign of solidarity on behalf of Queena.
Her sister, Anna Donato, says Queena is aware of what is happening and that none of them wants Morris to receive a sentence reduction.
Prosecutors were expected to read about a dozen victim impact letters written to the court on Queena's behalf.
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