Teens avoid life in prison
after slaying homeless man
Remember Michael Roberts, not his killers.
Michael Roberts was described as a kind soul
and a loner who had grown tired of society and its rules.
He had been homeless since 2000.
Four teenagers have been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for beating a homeless man to death last spring.
They had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Michael Roberts, 53.
Roberts was beaten and kicked, and then crushed when the attackers jumped on a log on his chest.
"Very, very few people are capable of committing such a heinous, brutal murder of an innocent person," prosecutor Ed Davis said. "When it is done, the people who do that need to be kept away from society. Society deserves that protection."
Jeffrey Spurgeon, 19, and Chris Scamahorn, 15, were each sentenced to 35 years in prison. Justin Stearns, 18, will serve 27 years, and Warren Messner, 16, was sentenced to more than 22 years. All four will be on probation for the rest of their lives.
Prosecutors had requested life in prison for the four, saying the teens beat Roberts to death as he begged for his life and then bragged about the killing for weeks before they were caught.
Roberts' sister, brothers and other family who grew up with him in Holly Hill said they were opposed to the death penalty from the start.
A fifth youth, Phi Huynk, 16, still faces a charge of aggravated battery.
Read the Daytona Beach News-Journal report here.