Sentence for teen killer upheld, with option for parole

Convicted murderer Lolita Barthel had one shot to have her life sentence thrown out and get a chance at freedom.

Barthel was 17 when she was convicted of killing Richard Menendez during a botched home invasion and robbery.

Barthel was sentenced to life in prison, but recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled juvenile offenders should get a chance at parole.

At a hearing in May, Marie Menendez had to re-live her husband’s murder. She recalled coming home and finding his lifeless body.

"That’s when I saw him in his boxer shorts and his under shirt and a hole... blood... I saw he was shot in the heart," said Menendez.

Barthel's attorneys told the judge Lolita came from a broken home where she suffered physical and mental abuse. A psychologist testified that Barthel was a troubled teen who got arrested for petty crimes, which became more violent as time went on.

The day of the home invasion, Barthel she says snapped.

While Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Sabella took it all into account, he was not swayed.

"The court finds, based on the facts of this case, life imprisonment is an appropriate sentence on counts one two and three," ruled Judge Sabella.

Marie Menendez and her son, Nelson, were relieved.

"We continue to live our lives and move forward. This was really what we were looking for today," said Nelson Menendez.

Marie never wavered in her belief the judge would do the right thing.

"It was cold-blooded murder, in plain language, and she deserves to stay in jail for what she did, 'cause he's no longer with us. 'Cause we miss him, but justice has been done," said a tearful Marie.

Barthel will have her sentence reviewed by a parole panel in 15 years.