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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by LJ Location: Gainesville, FL on Mar 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM
    Has a decision been made on this case yet?
  • by family friend Location: Quincy on Mar 5, 2012 at 08:58 AM
    God has walked day for day month for month hour for hour with this man ..People that write bad things here were not there you dont know it was a relationship turn bad but not at the hands of Mr.Mcgriff people talk what you know ..he was railroaded here not given a fair chance ...Pray to God he gets out and the Hidgons find hope and strength here and let them geton with thee lives and stop the hatred ..years are gone kathy is in Gods hands a angel WHAT WOULD SHE SAY ???? serious ..this man should be free ...dont say anything unless you personally know here ..half of you werenot even in the area then 25 years is along time ..God Speed to You JULIUS and may you walk free ..
  • by Ihateabortions Location: Worldwide on Feb 26, 2012 at 03:08 PM
    McGriff should be Executed and Serve Life if your Mother, Sister, Daughters, Nieces, Aunts, Grandmother, Cousin, and all of your Family Members that has Killed a Baby by Abortion!!! You Kill innocent Babies everyday !! How you feel about that Everybody that Posted!! You Quiet Now!! Stop Killing innocent Babies everyday they can't fight for themselves!! Searcher, Gop, and All the Rest of the 69 People that has commented!!
  • by GOP Location: quitman on Feb 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM
    Murder is Murder as far as Im concerned Is the womens family going to get her back NO They have to go the rest of there lives without her while you live in jail at the taxpayers expense When George Bush was governor of Texas he had a standing line at the electric chair
  • by Mark Location: Fairfax, VA on Feb 26, 2012 at 07:17 AM
    Kathy was a wonderful woman, a friend, a future doctor and future mother. Her husband lost his first love, the family lost a loving daughter and we (her friends) lost something that can never be replaced. She deserved better. We deserve justice!
  • by Forgivenmuch Location: Local on Feb 25, 2012 at 07:47 AM
    There is a Place for you Self Righteous and Unforgiving Bigots and Ignorant Black Folks that are Responding Hell!!! If you believe in eye for an eye then you are no better than the Taliban or Bin Laden!!! Its a Sad day to be an American with these Comments!!! Americans kill innocent People everday in Foreign Countries for Oil and Land!!! I guess every American should be in the Electric Chair Black or White!!
    • reply
      by God Bless America on Feb 25, 2012 at 02:06 PM in reply to Forgivenmuch
      Only if they habitual criminals, and a murderer. God gives free will, you abuse it, he turns you over to the devil.
  • by searcher Location: quincey on Feb 25, 2012 at 07:47 AM
    i was there on search and investigation kathy shot mcgriff tring to defend herself he raped murdered her and dumped her mangled body in a garbage dump in the edge o the woods to rot and be eaten by bugs and animals and his family thinks he should be turned loose not in this lifetime
  • by Jake Location: TLH on Feb 25, 2012 at 06:49 AM
    McGriff has been rehabilitated? how about his victim? Has she been rehabilitated?
  • by Mark on Feb 25, 2012 at 04:33 AM
    Save my money. Where's the needle?
  • by Billy Proctor Location: Bucklake & Buckwheat on Feb 25, 2012 at 02:49 AM
    McGriff should be transported on Bus C from Famu to court. If he lives then set him free. The only purpose FAMU serves currently is to punish people that are different. If McGriff has been " Gay for the Stay" in prison...the Marching 100 should take care of that.
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