Man sentenced to life at 16 freed after 22 years

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As Floyd LaFountain took his first breathe of fresh air as a free man, his mind was elsewhere.

"I wanna drink a milkshake and maybe go to the beach," said LaFountain as he walked from the jail he called home since the age of 16.

Now 39, LaFountain has spent more years locked up than he has in the outside world. But he says he never forgets what landed him there.

"A lot of remorse for what we did," said LaFountain.

In 1994, he and two of his buddies broke into a home in Tampa. During the robbery, the homeowner was shot and killed. LaFountain wasn't the shooter, but he and the other teens were convicted and got life in prison, without parole.

Years later the U.S. Supreme Court said denying juvenile defendants a chance at parole is unconstitutional.
So this week, LaFountain was re-sentenced and got time served.

He has spent over 22 years locked up, he says, with nothing but his thoughts and regrets.

"There is nothing I could say that could help them feel better about their loss. I want them to know I am truly sorry," LaFountain said about the victim's family during a plea for his freedom during the re-sentencing.

And on Friday, minutes before his freedom, a church member showed up with a gift of clothes, something he hasn't needed for decades.

LaFoutain says he never thought this day would come.

"The sentence I was given and the way the court system was at the time, it didn't look very favorable. Luckily the Supreme Court and the juvenile justice system made this all happen," explained LaFountain.

A lot changes in 22 years and LaFountain has a lot of catching up to do. He wants to get a job and stay on the right track. His attorney, Jose Barreiro hopes for that too.

"They could re-impose the sentence, or push for that. Hopefully we'll never get there," explained Barreiro.

LaFountain says he has no plans of looking back - just forward.

"Stay out here. Hopefully get a good job and help others," said LaFountain as he walked away from the jail.

Now he's off to a faith-based acclamation facility where he will stay and get job training and other tools needed to help him back on his feet.