FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A teenager who admitted to fatally stabbing his 62 year old neighbor more than 100 times and stole just $34 will spend the next three decades in jail under a plea deal made with prosecutors.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Justin McDonald, 17, sat quietly while the Vibbins Williams’ family told the Broward judge that the 30 year punishment would fit the crime. Under the deal, McDonald would plead no contest to second-degree murder and burglary with battery.
“We didn’t want his whole life to waste away, because he is a youth,” she said. “We just hope he finds a better way than robbing and murdering,” said Williams’ daughter LaTanya Hardy, 33.
On January 16,2010, police say McDonald, Williams’ Lauderdale Lakes neighbor, admitted to stabbing the great grandmother repeatedly after she refused to give him $5 to buy marijuana. After the attack, police say McDonald took all the money Williams had in her purse, which amounted to $34.
Under the plea deal, McDonald will also have 10 years of probation after being released from prison.
McDonald’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Nadine Girault Levy, argued that prior to the stabbing, his client had a record which included three minor misdemeanor offenses and had been diagnosed with a depression disorder which caused him to be hospitalized in a mental institution.
Williams’ only son McSwain Hardy, Jr. spoke to McDonald during Thursday’s hearing, saying unconditional forgiveness is something his late mother taught him.
“You tore my family apart, but I got love for you…I can’t have hatred in my heart,” said Hardy, 36, of Orlando. “Get yourself together, young man.”
McDonald was also given an opportunity to speak to his victim’s family.
“I want to say, I’m very sorry from the bottom of my heart for what happened,” McDonald said. “I wish it never happened.”
Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel