Tate Clemency Appeal


Florida's governor is being pressed to grant clemency to a 16-year-old boy, serving a life sentence for murder.

Lionel Tate was sent to prison with no hope of parole for killing a six-year-old girl.

Tate's mother is basing her plea for clemency, on the case of the King brothers in Pensacola.

Lionel Tate’s mother, Kathleen Tate, came to the capitol seeking mercy for her son. Tate was 12 when he killed six-year-old Tiffany Eunick and 14 when he learned his fate.

At trial, a video re-enactment of a fabricated wrestling accident helped seal Tate’s guilty verdict. Now, 70 pounds lighter in a recent prison photo, Tate has changed his story, saying he jumped on the girl from steps leading to the basement. The Rev. Thomas Masters says the change is proof Tate is too immature to be serving life in prison.

Kathleen Tate says that no matter how it happened, there is injustice when her son's life sentence is compared to that of Alex King, who killed his father with a baseball bat.

The group consulted with lawyers and experts on clemency before heading to the capitol; there they met with the governor's legal counsel. Their plea is to start the clemency process sooner than later

But Jeb Bush can take up the case whenever he wants. So far he hasn't changed his thoughts from two years ago.

But family and supporters say that since Tate was offered a deal to serve just three years, now is the time to begin thinking about sending him home.