A Collier County judge sentenced 15-year-old Alex Crain to 20 years and two months in prison Thursday for shooting and killing his parents at their Golden Gate Estates home in December 2010.
Crain became visibly emotional as Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt handed down the sentence on Crain's no-contest plea to two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of his parents, killing his parents, Thomas and Kelly.
Family members didn't speak during the hearing, and they declined to comment after the sentencing.
No motive has ever been given for the killings, and nobody other than Crain apparently knows. After his arrest, Crain requested a lawyer and never told investigators why he killed his parents, State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Samantha Syoen said. Crain's lawyer, Brian Bieber, said his client hasn't told anybody in public or private about a motive.
Crain also received 10 years probation after he's released from prison. Under Florida law, the earliest Crain could be released from prison is age 31.
Bieber had previously said there was a mental health aspect to the case. But on Thursday, Bieber said doctors who evaluated Crain "have come to the conclusion that he's not a risk of re-offending."
"He really will have his entire life ahead of him," Bieber said. "The bottom line is nothing like this … will ever happen again."
Charged as an adult, Crain had faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted on both counts. Prosecutors decided to charge Crain as an adult "when it was determined there really weren't any mental issues that gave us concern," Assistant State Attorney Richard Montecalvo said.
"We believe the sentence is a sign he's being punished for the crimes he committed, and there's hope perhaps that as a young man, when he gets out of prison, he can become a productive member of society and give back," Montecalvo said.
Crain will be transferred to a Department of Corrections reception center, where will then determine to which prison Crain will be sent.
Lawyers for both sides shed no light on a motive for the shooting after Thursday's hearing, but prosecutors said mental health evaluations gave no indications of psychological issues with Crain. Family members gathered outside the courtroom and declined to discuss the hearing results. Bieber said some family members wanted a lesser sentence and would have taken Crain into their home.
Crain is being asked several standard questions about his decision to accept the plea. When asked about his level of education, Crain said he's now reached the 12th grade. At the time of his arrest, Crain was in the ninth grade.
Crain is being sworn in so he can answer questions about his plea agreement. To questions about a waiving a pre-disposition report, he has responded to Montecalvo "yes, sir" or "no, sir."
About 30 people have arrived in the gallery, as well as Alex Crain, dressed in an orange jumpsuit. Rankin has said Crain would plead no contest to manslaughter and spend 20 years in prison, followed by 10 years of probation. Both sides are asking Judge Hardt to approve the plea agreement.
In about 15 minutes, the plea hearing for Alex Crain is scheduled to start. Crain's lawyers, Brian Bieber and Mark Rankin, have both arrived, and about a dozen family members have filled two benches in the courtroom. Five deputies are in the courtroom preparing for the hearing. Several media outlets have also arrived early.
Fifteen-year-old Alex Crain is expected to accept a plea agreement and receive his sentence at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on charges of killing his parents.
Charged as an adult, Crain faces up to 60 years in prison on two charges of manslaughter. He's accused of shooting and killing his parents, Thomas and Kelly, in their Golden Gate Estates homes in December 2010.
Crain's lawyer, Brian Bieber, has said the "mental health aspect in his case is of epic proportion."
While both sides have said they are working toward a plea agreement, it's possible that there's no resolution to the case Thursday.
Bieber said family members of Crain likely will speak during Thursday's hearing if Crain is sentenced.
Follow along throughout Thursday afternoon's hearing for updates from Crain's hearing.