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CNN LIVE AT DAYBREAK

Two Boys Face Less Than 10 Years Behind Bars

Aired November 15, 2002 - 05:34   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Two boys originally headed for life in prison for killing their father will now face less than 10 years behind bars.
CNN's Mark Potter tells us all about the Florida case that made national headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a mediate settlement between the defense and prosecution, Alex and Derrick King, ages 13 and 14, pleaded guilty to arson and third degree murder for the beating death of their father a year ago. Alex was given a seven year prison sentence. His older brother Derrick received eight years. They will serve their time at a state facility which houses only juveniles. As part of the deal, they also had to confess their roles in killing their father, Terry King.

Judge Frank Bell first read Derrick's detailed confession.

JUDGE FRANK BELL, ESCAMBIA COUNTY FLORIDA CIRCUIT: Alex suggested that I kill dad. I murdered my dad with an aluminum baseball bat. I set the house on fire from my dad's bedroom.

POTTER: The judge then read aloud the confession from Alex, the younger brother. BELL: We talked about killing my dad. When we got home, Derrick got bat and hit dad in the head. After a while, dad didn't move. We set bedroom on fire.

POTTER: Last September, Alex and Derrick were tried and convicted of second degree murder and arson. Ricky Chavis, a family friend and convicted child molester, was tried separately on similar charges, but was acquitted. Judge Bell, however, threw out the boys' verdict, ruling the trial was unfair. He then appointed a mediator and ordered the defense and prosecution to try to settle the case out of court.

Kelly Marino, the boys' biological mother, who gave them up for foster care years ago, opposes the negotiated plea deal. She claims she was cut out of the mediation and argues the boys are too young to make such an important decision.

KELLY MARINO, MOTHER OF ALEX AND DEREK KING: They're 13 and 14 years old. They're not able to make this judgment for the rest of their lives and none of us were allowed to have a say in that.

POTTER: Defense attorneys and the prosecutor responded harshly to the mother's criticism, arguing she did little to help the boys earlier in their lives.

DAVID RIMMER, PROSECUTOR: Well, now, they wouldn't be going to the state pen if she had been paying more attention to them when they were in their playpens.

POTTER: This case first drew national attention because of the boys' ages and the way it was prosecuted. Now, by ending in a negotiated settlement, this tragic murder case once again makes news, as two young brothers head off to prison.

Mark Potter, CNN, Pensacola, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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