Prisoner's sentence goes from life to time served

- Floyd LaFountain was 16-years-old when he went to prison, and he's been locked up for even longer. But what happened in courtroom 15 this morning almost never happens.

LaFountain was sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile, but the Supreme Court said the sentence is too stiff for anyone that age. So he penned a heartfelt letter to the judge, asking for a new sentence - and what he got was beyond his wildest dreams.

"The sentence that the court just imposed - he just completed that sentence," said Judge Chet Tharpe Wednesday morning. 

The judge re-sentenced LaFountain to time served. Both the state and the defense agreed to the deal.

Now 39, LaFountain is about to be a free man, after serving  22 years of a life sentence.

"Not a day has passed since June 1994 that I don't regret and wish I could change what happened that day. I know there isn't anything I can say to make them feel better about their loss, but I want them to know I'm truly sorry," LaFountain said in court.

Back in 1994, LaFountain and two friends broke into a Tampa home. The homeowner was shot and killed during the robbery, but LaFountain was not the shooter. All three were convicted of murder, and sentenced to life without parole.

But the a U.S. Supreme Court ruled denying juveniles a chance at parole unconstitutional .

LaFountain's attorney, Jose Barreiro says his client was a perfect candidate for re-sentencing.

"He was very joyful, as you can imagine. He was very thankful," said Barreiro.

Last week, LaFountain wrote a letter to the judge explaining how he has taken self-help classes in prison and wanted access to more classes. Now he'll be free to pursue an education.

But the world has changed a lot in 22 years, and Barreiro knows LaFountain has a lot of catching up to do 

"Long ago, he committed to the fact that, if he was ever released, that he was going to be a productive member of society. He was going to make up for his lost time, and now he gets to do that, and I'm happy for him, " said Barreiro.

Under the agreement, LaFountain will serve 15 years of probation, and will be limited on where he can travel and with whom he can meet. 

Once he's released from jail Thursday, LaFountain is heading to a faith-based acclamation facility in Hillsborough County, where they will help him get back on his feet.

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