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Man Convicted of 1987 Murder Wants Sentenced Reduced

Gadsden County, FL- July 25, 2012

A 25 year old murder case is back in court today.

A Gadsden County judge is hearing an appeal to release the convicted murdered Julius McGriff.

McGriff was sentenced to life without parole for the 1987 murder of Kathy Higdon. There have been very emotional testimonies from her family, including her husband and brother, asking the judge not to release him. The defense has not called any witnesses, but is citing previous cases as to why he should be granted early release.

Ultimately the judge ruled, McGriff's original sentence of life without parole, should stand.

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Update - Gadsden County, FL - Feb. 24, 2012 6:14pm

It's been 25 years, and family members say that's long enough to be behind bars.

The attorney and family of Gadsden County man Julius McGriff, are trying to get the convicted murderer's two-and-half decades old life sentence reduced.

As Julius Ceasar McGriff walks into a Gadsden County courtroom, his family hopes to see him walk free.

"It's been a long time coming." Says McGriff's brother, Lawrence McGriff.

McGriff is serving a life sentence.

He was convicted of killing Kathy Higdon back in 1987.

Lawrence says, "I think that he's been rehabilitated. I'm not saying that he's guilty. But, he's done his time and I think that he should have a chance, a second chance to come out into society and be a productive citizen."

During a hearing Friday, McGriff's attorney argued that McGriff is entitled to a re-sentencing.

He says the jury didn't have proper information, and that under the scoring system, McGriff's points wouldn't have equaled a life sentence.

The prosecutor, Richard Combs, says the life sentence is legal. He says, "The idea that a trial court is just a potted plant that can't think for itself or add things together, is a little offensive. the fact that I think an in-trial court can take a look at an individual's prior history and draw some conclusions about that."

Lawrence says, "Man's law says 25 years or 27 years. He's done his time."

The victim's family members did not want to comment. The McGriff Family says its praying for them.

The judge did not make a decision today on whether McGriff's sentence will be reduced.

We will keep you posted.

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Gadsden County, Florida - Feb. 24, 2012 - 2:10pm -

The hearing is now over. The judge did not make a decision on the fate of Julius Ceasar McGriff, a Gadsden County man convicted of killing a woman back in 1987. McGriff is trying to get his life sentence reduced.

Stay with WCTV for the latest.

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Gadsden County, Florida - Feb. 24, 2012 - 2:19pm -

Both sides are discussing McGriff's prior denied appeals and arguing before the judge whether the life sentence was legal.

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Gadsden County, Florida - Feb. 24, 2012 - 1:48pm -

The court is having to get a court reporter from Tallahassee. The hearing is expected to be delayed another hour.

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Gadsden County, Florida - Feb. 24, 2012 - 1:25pm -

A Gadsden County man who's been in prison for more than two decades is trying to get his life sentence reduced.

The courtroom is filling up as the hearing is set to begin at 1:30pm. The Gadsden County Sheriff's Office is providing extra security because the judge is expected to make a decision today and they want to prepare for any reactions from family members on both sides. Eyewitness News spoke to the brother of Julius McGriff and he says he hopes his brother is released from prison. He says 25 years behind bars is long enough and that his brother is rehabilitated. He says that in no way, however, means he's saying McGriff is guilty of the 1987 murder.

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Gadsden County, Florida - Feb. 24, 2012 - Noon -

A Gadsden County man who's been in prison for more than two decades is trying to get his life sentence reduced. Julius Ceasar McGriff was convicted of killing a woman back in 1987.

The mandate hearing is scheduled to be held in about a hour and a half. Julius Ceasar McGriff was sentenced to life for the murder of Kathy Higdon in Gadsden County in 1987.

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