Lionel Tate, the young Florida killer who got a second, then a third chance at freedom, will almost certainly go to prison if convicted of charges he held up a pizza deliveryman, the Miami Herald reports. For Tate’s supporters — many of whom campaigned against a life sentence — news of Monday’s arrest was met with dismay and shock. “Lionel had the keys to the jail cell in his hand to either open the door and walk into the cell, or open the door and walk into life,” said Howard Greitzer, the lawyer who was Tate’s court advocate until he turned 18 in January.
Tate, 18, is being held without bond at the Broward County Jail. He is expected to appear today on a video hookup from jail for his first court appearance. Tate’s attorney, Jim Lewis, said, “I think they got the wrong guy. Lionel told me he did not do this. He told me he did not rob the pizza man or assault the 13-year-old. He said he got there when it was all over.” Tate was 12 when he fatally beat a 6-year-old playmate in 1999. At 14, he became the youngest American sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of first-degree murder. An appeals court reversed the conviction, citing concerns about whether he understood the proceedings.