MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The family of a teen who was killed 6 years ago by another teen upset with his new dirt bike is infuriated by a judges’s decision to cut the sentence of their son’s killer in half, trumping an appeals court decision not to review the sentence.
The shooting happened in 2006 in the Goulds neighborhood of South Miami-Dade. Giovanny Mayoral was 14 and driving his new green dirt bike down the street. A bullet ripped through his body, causing the bike to spin out and sending the teen into the street.
Eventually, police charged 16 year Joshua Ladson, a teen from the neighborhood, with manslaughter in the shooting. Prosecutors believe he was shot because he buzzed by Ladson, whose younger brother testified against him. He said his brother pulled out a gun, cursed, and fired a round at Mayoral.
Medical reports say he died almost instantly.
It took three years for the case to come to trial, and in 2009, a jury convicted Ladson of manslaughter. Judge Israel Reyes, a former police officer, sentenced him to the maximum of 30 years, citing the damage done to multiple families and the violence of the crime.
Ladson was 19 when he went to state prison.
He had been represented by the Miami-Dade public defender’s office, who took the case to the 3rd district Court of Appeals. That court declined to review the case in May of last year, letting the 30 year sentence stand.
But in a court action reported by CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, Judge Nushin Sayfie, who had nothing to do with the original case, reviewed a petition by the Public Defender and summarily cut Ladson’s sentence in half, saying he deserved a second chance “because of his youth”.
The decision outraged Mayoral’s family, who, like Ladson’s family, was allowed to speak at the hearing.
“My son never got a second chance,” mother Madeline Mayoral told The Herald. She said the judge treated her son “like he’s trash, he’s nothing.”
The taxpayer-paid attorney who represented Ladson presided the decision, saying it was appropriate. However, beyond the judge’s opinion, there is little justification legally.
While the US Supreme Court has ruled against automatic mandatory minimum life sentences for teens, Ladson’s sentence was not for life. He had originally been charged with second degree murder, but a jury convicted him of the lesser included offense of manslaughter.
It’s not known what, if any, action prosecutors can or will take. However, Landon, now 22, has already served 6 years in custody. If the decision stands, he will likely be out of prison in time for his 31st birthday.