Saturday, August 20, 2011

Teen sentenced to 40 years
for stabbing homeless man

Family stories about a promising musician and even a plea from the man he stabbed were not enough to ease the penalty against a Jacksonville teen behind a senseless knife attack.

Eric Francis Sandefur, 18, was setenced to 40 years in prison — the maximum allowed under a plea bargain. He pleaded guilty to knifing Jason James Jerome, a 29-year-old homeless man, on the streets of Mandarin in December.

Sandefur confessed he stalked Jerome for 30 minutes as he slept on a picnic table. The two had never met before Sandefur tried to kill him. Grainy surveillance video shows Sandefur, wearing a suit and tie and gripping a knife, walking toward Jerome, with a blanket wrapped around himself.

Jerome said he has forgiven Sandefur, who cried during others’ testimony, and asked the judge for mercy. He doesn’t deserve prison time, but rehabilitation. “I walked away from our encounter with my life and my faith in tact,” Jerome said.

Read the Florida Times-Union report here.

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