One of the two co-defendants in the murder case involving a Nova Southeastern University professor has been sentenced to 40 years in Florida state prison by a Broward Circuit Court judge.
As part of a plea agreement, the co-defendant agreed to testify against the other co-defendant - his own father.
The testifying co-defendant took the stand during his father's trial and admitted that while he was involved in the planning, preparation, and execution of the armed home-invasion robbery and kidnapping of the professor, his father was responsible for the first-degree murder of the professor.
The State Attorney's Office, as part of the plea agreement, did not seek the death penalty against the testifying co-defendant in exchange for his testimony. His charges were reduced to second-degree murder, rendering him ineligible for the death penalty.
The judge sentenced the testifying co-defendant to 40 years, instead of the maximum of life in prison. The judge commented that she was imposing a 40-year sentence in consideration of the fact that the man testified against his own father in a death penalty case.
In co-defendant cases, it is not uncommon for the less culpable party to be given a plea deal that includes testifying against the other co-defendant.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.