News| Law | Tate Blows 2nd Chance at Freedom; Gets 30

Published February 11, 2008

Posted May 18, 2006 – Lionel Tate, the teen who blew a second shot at freedom after being convicted for killing his childhood playmate, will spend at least 30 years in prison for charges stemming from his robbery of a pizza delivery man.

"In plain English, you've run out of chances. You do not get any more," Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus lashed at Tate on Thursday before the now-19-year-old was escorted off to jail in shackles, The Associated Press reported.

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In 1999, when Tate was 12, he killed 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick, calling it an accident that occurred when the two were play-wrestling. He was sentenced to life in prison two years later, becoming the youngest ever to receive such a harsh sentence.

But, after a flood of calls – including a call of leniency from the mother of the young victim – the murder conviction was overturned. He was released from prison and given 10 years probation after copping to second-degree murder. The judge at the time warned him that the slightest misstep could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately, the warning fell on deaf ears, as Tate could not steer clear of trouble. In 2004, a judge slapped Tate with an additional five years probation after he was nabbed on a knife-possession charge.

On Thursday, he learned his fate for the latest transgression, having a gun, which he allegedly used to rob a pizza man. He pleaded guilty to the gun charge but will face trial on the robbery charge in September.

Lazarus said Tate has displayed nothing but "disdain and disrespect" for the law.

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Written by BET-Staff

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