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Verdict Reached in Brazill Case

Aired May 16, 2001 - 13:53   ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Since the break, we have now learned there is a verdict in the Nathaniel Brazill case in West Palm Beach, Florida -- Nathaniel Brazill accused of shooting his teacher, killing Barry Grunow when he was 13 years old last year. Brazill attended Lake Worth Community Middle School. It happened on the last day of school last year. He's been charged with first-degree murder, but in addition to that -- which carries a mandatory life sentence -- jurors can consider lesser charges like second- and third-degree murder, felony murder and manslaughter.

Brazill's attorneys maintain that the shooting was accidental. So while we wait to hear what the verdict is from this jury, here is a background piece that brings us to this point in this story of Nathaniel Brazill.


MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the last day of school last year, Nathaniel Brazill shot and killed his language arts teacher. The boy was in 7th grade, was 13 at the time and was charged with first-degree murder. The victim was 35-year-old Barry Grunow, a popular teacher at Lake Worth Community Middle School. He was a husband and father of two small children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... so help you God?


POTTER: Nathaniel Brazill was tried in adult court and testified on his own behalf. The question for the jury was whether he intended to kill his teacher. Brazill said it was an accidental shooting.


ROBERT UDELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nathaniel, are you some kind of psycho?


UDELL: Are you demented?

BRAZILL: What does that mean?

UDELL: Are you a cold-blooded killer? BRAZILL: No.

UDELL: Did you ever intend to harm Mr. Grunow?



POTTER: But prosecutor Marc Shiner showed the jury a videotape of the shooting, taken by school security cameras and argued the killing was premeditated murder. He said Brazill shot Grunow because he was mad at school officials and did nothing to help.


MARC SHINER, ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY: You knew he was shot, didn't you?


SHINER: You didn't stop to try to help him, did you?

BRAZILL: I was scared.

SHINER: You did not try to stop to help him, did you?


SHINER: Did you drop to your knees and start crying?


SHINER: Did you drop the gun?

BRAZILL: No, I did not.


POTTER: Many of the trial witnesses were Brazill's classmates. One said she saw him aim the handgun and pull the slide back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know how on TV they'll pull it back and then they'll shoot it? He did that first and then he waited like three seconds and he shot him.

POTTER: Another classmate said Brazill told her he was going to shoot a school official.

MICHELLE CORDOVEZ, CLASSMATE: He said, "Watch, I'm going to be all over the news."

POTTER: But defense attorney Robert Udell argued Brazill was only kidding. During a videotaped statement given to the police, the boy cried when he was told that Barry Grunow had died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you OK, Nate? POTTER: In closing arguments, the defense conceded a crime was committed, but said it was manslaughter. But the prosecution called Brazill a cold-blooded killer.


POTTER: Well, now, we're outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse watching the scene in the courtroom on the 10th floor -- the court of Judge Richard Wennet. Everyone has gathered. We have been told that there is some sort of an announcement from the jury. We do not know what the announcement is -- if this is a verdict, a question, the fact that they are -- it is a hung jury. We just don't know. We don't wish to speculate. Those are just some of the possibilities. And we are waiting to find out.

We see Nathaniel Brazill sitting at the defense table with his attorney Lance Richard and Robert Udell. The prosecutors and everyone else is gathering in the courtroom, awaiting the arrival of the jury. And hopefully, soon, we'll find out exactly what is going on.

We do know that the jury took a lunch break a short while ago after this morning, hearing some testimony read back to them from a few of the witnesses in the trial. And here comes the judge. Let's listen in -- Judge Richard Wennet.

JUDGE RICHARD WENNET: Well, ladies and gentlemen, before -- please everyone be seated. Before we get started, let me share with everyone that when the verdict is read, I expect everyone in the courtroom to remain silent. If you agree with the verdict, please remain silent. If you disagree with the verdict, please remain silent.

This is a mark of respect to the jurors who spent a goodly amount of time working on this case, to everyone involved in this case. I expect everyone to act as ladies and as gentlemen and that there be absolutely no disruption in the courtroom.

All right, would you ask the jurors to join us?

ALLEN: Mark Potter, a question for you while the jury comes into the courtroom: Has Barry Grunow's family been attending this trial? Are they there now?

POTTER: I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you. There is some commotion out here. Has the victim's family -- are you asking me?

ALLEN: Right, are they in the courtroom today?

POTTER: I cannot see them. They have been here. They were here at the end of the closing arguments. So we are assuming that they are here today. This is a momentous occasion. They have waited a year for this point. And so my presumption is that they are here.

Now Mrs. Grunow, the widow, spent only two days in the trial, but she was here at the end. So we will have to look a little closer to see if indeed they are here. I suspect they are.

WENNET: Well, if I could have everyone seated, please. Ladies and gentlemen, I understand that you've reached a verdict. If you would kindly hand it to Deputy Kascone (ph).


WENNET: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) if I can impose upon counsel and for the parties and the defendant to please stand while the verdict is being read. And Ms. Galloway, if would you, kindly publish the verdict.

CLERK: Yes, sir, in the circuit court of the 15th Judicial Circuit, Criminal Division in and for Palm Beach County, Florida, case number 00-006385-CF A02. Division "V" State of Florida versus Nathaniel Brazill, defendant. Verdict: We the jury finds as follows: "As to count one, we find the defendant guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm, a lesser included defense, as contained in the indictment. We find that the defendant possessed, carried and fired a firearm in committing second-degree murder.

"As to count two, we find the defendant guilty of aggravated assault with a firearm as charged in the indictment. We find the defendant possessed or carried a firearm in committing aggravated assault," and it's marked "yes." So say we all, the 16th day of May 2001, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, and it's signed by the foreperson, Mr. Simmons.

Ms. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you, ma'am.

WENNET: Excuse me, could you speak up nice and loud, please? Thank you, so much.

CLERK: Ms. Sellier, were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you, ma'am.

Ms. Carlin (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you, ma'am.

Ms. Leak (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you. Mrs. Wheeler (ph) were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you.

Mr. Ubarro (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdict? .


CLERK: Ms. Bliss (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you, ma'am.

Ms. Foster (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts.


CLERK: Thank you, ma'am.

Mr. Simmons (ph), were the verdict as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you, sir.

Ms. Hanson (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?.


CLERK: Thank you, ma'am.

Mrs. Wheeler (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?


CLERK: Thank you ma'am.

And Mr. Frankie (ph), were the verdicts as I read, your verdicts?

JUROR: Yes, it was.

CLERK: Thank you, sir.

WENNET: Well, ladies and gentlemen that brings to a -- please everyone be seated. Well, ladies and gentlemen that brings to a close your service as jurors. I know you've taken a tremendous amount of time and effort in resolving this case and on behalf of everyone involved, I want to thank you very much. At this time, your service as jurors are -- is over. And, you have the right to talk to anyone that you want to about the case. If you do not want to talk to anyone about the case, however, you need not. The choice is entirely up to you. So, if you want to preserve your confidence and -- and confidentiality as to what went on in the jury room, you are free to do that. On the other hand, you do not want -- if you don't want to do that, you may talk to anyone that you care to. The choice is entirely up to you.

Although no one can force you to do that, as I said that -- your voluntary choice. Recognizing that there's going to be a goodly amount of -- of well, as you know, publicity -- there has been a good amount of publicity in this case. I have no doubt that each one of you may -- will be approached. For your benefit, throughout the course of these proceedings, I precluded any interviews or the like in the courtroom or in the courthouse, for that matter -- or limited substantially.

So what I am going to suggest to you is this: If any of you do not want to talk to the press or to anyone else about this case, on your way out just tell the deputies that, and they'll escort you directly to your vehicle. On the other hand, if any of you do want to do that, you may tell them that, and they'll take you another way. But the choice, as I said, is entirely up to you. And at this time, with everyone's thanks especially my own, I want to let you all go home and return to your regular, normal lives. Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen, you are now discharged.

Oh, yes, we have -- excuse me, thank you, Neil. We have certificates on -- presented on behalf a very grateful bench and bar as a -- to show you our -- our appreciation for your services. And now -- thank you, so much and Neil will take you on back.

Well, please be seated ladies, gentlemen. I imagine a presentence investigation is in order. And madam clerk, if you would kindly order one for us with a -- I guess with the -- I guess that you're going to want juvenile input as the -- is that correct, Mr. Udell?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I thought the statute required it, sir.


ROBERT UDELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm not sure of what juvenile input means.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The statute for a first-degree punishable by life precludes juvenile sanctions. So I'm not sure what effect...

UDELL: I have no objection of the court ordering anything just --didn't know what the terminology was, judge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's two separate issues, one that I think that should be done -- but what you can do might be a different story.

WENNET: Very well. I will certainly grant the defense's request with a juvenile -- with a juvenile input.

Well, when you would you like a sentencing hearing? That would take a minimum of 30 days for the presentence investigation to be prepared. This is what? The middle of May, middle of June. I guess if...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can just give me two minutes to confer with Mr. Reynolds family on that issue.

WENNET: Actually, do you know what I think I might do? I think I might just recess, and give you all an opportunity to discuss this and reconvene say in about 30 minutes. And if you would, why don't you discuss the length of time that you, gentlemen -- in the interim if you would discuss the length of time that you believe the hearing itself should last, so I know how -- how much time to allocate, and -- and I will set a sentencing hearing at 2:30. Is that convenient?


WENNET: Very well, we are in recess until 2:30.

ALLEN: Brazill is guilty of second-degree murder, so says this jury. And Judge Richard Wennet's court room in West Palm Beach, Florida. And, everyone in the courtroom obeying the judge's orders and staying hushed, even though we saw Nathaniel Brazill's family clutching one another. We saw the Grunow family remaining solemn. We saw Nathaniel Brazill's attorney clutching his shoulder. He could have received a first-degree murder conviction. This jury did not impose that.

Let's go to CNN's Mark Potter. Mark, what has Nathaniel Brazill's attorneys and families said to this point about how they would react to a second-degree murder conviction?

POTTER: Well, it's certainly better than first degree, by far. They had argued that this was at best a manslaughter case. But, the jury saw it differently, and the jury is the -- are the ones that count. We see the prosecutor here talking with the Grunow family right now.

Marc Shiner talking with the family, discussing the issue of sentencing and when there should be a hearing with him. The Assistant State Attorney Barbara Burns. Going back to your question, the -- this is certainly better than first degree from the standpoint of this family, but it's still a very serious matter involving a very serious prison sentence. We have been told by the prosecutor's office, that in their view, this could lead to a minimum 25-year prison term up to life in prison.

They also contend that under a state law involving the use of guns, called the 10-20-life law, that if the judge, for example, were to impose a 30-year sentence -- for example, only for example, that the -- the young Nate Brazill would have to serve all of those 30 years. He would not get any time off for game time.

Now, the defense attorneys argue that state law does not apply, and so that will be argued in the course of the days to come. But what does seem clear is that at least this young man would face anywhere from 25 years to life in prison. A very, very serious penalty altogether. But, it is not the penalty that he would have faced if he had been convicted of first-degree murder, either premeditated murder or felony murder. That would have been a mandatory life prison term without any chance of parole. So that's the -- that is -- that is the difference here. It's in the sentencing.

We await now the end of this break were the lawyers will come back, and they'll discuss the pre-sentence investigation. They're going to talk about when the sentencing hearing is to be set up, and that's all to be determined. It could happen a month or so down the road. I've just been told that -- that Bob -- that Mr. Hatcher, Bob Hatcher has said that this -- that the principal of the middle school, where Nathaniel was and where the shooting occurred that the system has worked. Bob Hatcher, the principal of Lake Worth Community Middle School, that he is heading to the school right now to inform the school what happened.

Of course, the students there, the teachers, the administrators are all watching this case very closely and they were very concerned about the prospect of a hung jury, and a mistrial and the possibility that these students who went through this once -- and many of them had to testify -- might have to do it again. But again, now that a moot point, the jury, after deliberating a full day yesterday and part of the day today, has come back with its verdict.

Again, it is second-degree murder with the use of a fire arm. It also found Nathaniel guilty of a second count, aggravated assault with a fire arm. And that's for the time after he shot Mr. Grunow, when he ran down the hall and pointed his firearm at another teacher, John James, a math teacher. He did not fire at him, but he pointed the gun at him, and for that, he has also been convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm. But, of course, the big charge, second-degree murder.

And as we continue to watch the courtroom, Marc Shiner on the phone, Barbara Burns, the other prosecutor in this case in front of the Grunow family, talking to them, we presume, about what comes next, and that is sentencing and I am sure that the prosecutors will want to have the input of the Grunow family -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Mark. We thank you and stand by, we will talk with you again. We want to explore more of what a second-degree murder conviction means. And for that, here is Lou.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's call upon Roger Cossack, our CNN legal analyst for that. The jury -- give us an idea, Roger, of what these folk had to wrestle with here. They certainly opted not put this 14-year-old away for life without parole. Nor did they -- were they willing to concede that it was an accident, as the defense contend. They convicted him, though, of a very serious crime.

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Lou, there is no question about that. They convicted him, as you say, a very, very serious crime. 25 years to life is what the statutory requirement of sentencing is in the state of Florida. What we are unclear of, as of yet, and will be made clear is whether or not that 25 is a mandatory, or if the judge will be able to go lower than that. We are work on finding that out right now.

But let me tell you an answer to your question, what actually happened here: second-degree murder is a murder which is not pre- meditated. It's almost a spur of the moment, if you will, kind of murder. What the jury did in this case was, they decided that what the facts told them beyond the reasonable doubt, was even though this young man brought the gun to school, brought the gun into the classroom, aimed the gun at the teacher, that when the gun went off, it was more of a momentary thing.

Not a momentary thing, enough so, that it would be a manslaughter. They didn't believe that. But they didn't say that it was a premeditated first-degree murder. Who knows whether or not they were thinking about the fact of his age, and they didn't want to just put this young man away for a mandatory life sentence? That could very well have played a large part in their thinking. They are not supposed to think that way, but it could have.

Never the less, he is convicted of second degree murder, which is a very serious offense.

WATERS: Tell us what it is we are looking at here in the courtroom, Roger. The prosecutors are talking with the victim's family. What is that conversation all about?

COSSACK: Well, most likely, they have become quite close during this trial. The teacher was a popular teacher in the high school -- excuse me, in the school. And usually in these kinds of situations, the prosecutors and the family become quite close. And now that the case is over and has been resolved, they're probably discussing why they think the jury came to the conclusion they did. What the sentencing in fact hold in the future for Mr. Brazill. And each of their thoughts over this particular moment.

This is a very (UNINTELLIGIBLE) moment in the sense it's the resolving of the death of the teacher. And yet, it obviously is very sad for the future of this young man.

WATERS: And the judges called for a pre-sentence investigation, which he said would take about 30 days. Give us an idea of what that is all about. Does the judge have any discretion in the final analysis?

COSSACK: Well, that's what we are trying to find out right now. I'll tell you what a pre-sentence hearing is and a pre-sentence report: that is, basically, a probation report. And not that he will get probation, but the judge wants to find out now, who is this young man? What about him? What kind of family? What kind of background? What kind of history?

And we heard them discuss briefly whether or not juvenile input could be in there. Because he is being tried as an adult. And the question is, can juvenile input be put in there? If it is, can the judge do anything about it? Juvenile input would be the alternative of putting him in some soft of a juvenile school, rather than some form of incarceration. So these are all things that are peculiar and particular to the state of Florida, like they are in each of our states. So, that's what the judge has ordered, a background investigation, if you will, of Nathaniel Brazill.

WATERS: All right, Roger, if you will stay close, we will have more questions for you.

Natalie, what is going on now?

ALLEN: Well, we have on the line with us, Ken Padowitz. Ken Padowitz is the prosecutor who prosecuted the Lionel Tate case, also in South Florida. You may remember Lionel Tate was a juvenile who a jury found, calls the death of Tiffany Eunick, a little girl, his playmate, whom he claims he was just playing and using wrestling moves on. But she died.

Ken Padowitz is on the phone with us. Remind us what happened to Lionel Tate and your thoughts on his sentence and what happened to him versus what now we might see in this case with another juvenile, who's been found guilty of second-degree murder.

KEN PADOWITZ, LIONEL TATE PROSECUTOR: Well, the evidence in the Lionel Tate case was that he basically kicked, beat and punched a little 48-pound, first grade girl to death over the course of five minutes. Lionel Tate weighed three times her weight at 166 pounds and was 14 inches taller and 5 grade levels ahead of her.

And the evidence from the experts was that he beat her with such forces, they were equal of falling out of a second or third floor building. So, the jury heard two and half weeks of evidence in the Lionel Tate case, and they determined, after having the choices of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter, to come back with the verdict of first-degree murder.

The judge in that case had no discretion at sentencing because the law was very clear. If you are convicted of first-degree murder, the only possible sentence is life in prison with no parole. And Lionel Tate was sentenced to life in prison.

In this particular case, the jury had the very difficult task of listening to all of the evidence here, and going back and deliberating, and again, determining what the verdict should be for this particular defendant. The evidence was very strong in favor of a first-degree murder conviction. But they had the opportunity, this particular jury, to have the knowledge that the Lionel Tate jury did not have. They had the knowledge in this jury that a first-degree murder conviction carries with it a life sentence.

And so, I'd be speculating, but I would have to make an educated guess that this jury thought about that, even if they did not discuss it amongst themselves, because the law says not to focus on the sentence when you are deliberating a verdict. They had to know it and they had to be thinking about it when they were deliberating as to what type of verdict to return in this particular case.

ALLEN: And so, that said, who decides the verdict? I mean, 25 years to life, there's a lot of leeway in there.

PADOWITZ: As far as the sentence goes, since the verdict is now second-degree murder, the judge now has quite a bit of discretion as to how he wants to sentence Mr. Brazill, as far as what type of person term and the probation that he deserves. This is a very serious charge of second-degree murder, and the judge is basically faced with a life felony and can sentence anywhere from no prison time, all the way up to life in prison.

The typical sentence for a second-degree murder is somewhere in the range of 25 years to 40 years in Florida state prison.

ALLEN: We thank you, Ken Padowitz, for joining us and talking with us. And again, no sentencing yet of course in this case.

There's the family of Nathaniel Brazill, who has just been found guilty of second-degree murder in the case involving his teacher Barry Grunow, killed on the last day of class last year at Lake Worth Middle School. We'll take a break. We'll have much more on this development in this case after this.


ALLEN: If you're just joining us, the verdict just a short time ago in the Nathaniel Brazill case, the 14-year-old student accused and convicted now of killing his teacher of Barry Grunow, whom he had called his favorite teacher last year at Lake Worth Middle School in south Florida. A second-degree murder conviction from the jury today, and let's go back to CNN's Mark Potter who has been covering the case from the beginning.

Mark, do we know where he will serve his sentence? He's a juvenile, but where does he go from here?

POTTER: Natalie, I suspect that is still to be determined. Right now, immediately, from here, he will go back to the Palm Beach County Jail where he has been held before and during the trial and up to this point. The only thing that we can do is look to the case that preceded this one, the one that you were talking to Ken Padowitz about, Lionel Tate.

For a moment, it looked like he was going to go into the adult system because he got a mandatory life prison term without parole, but Governor Jeb Bush intervened and made sure that instead he went to a juvenile facility. He is now at Okeechobee, Florida, northwest of this location where he is being held in a maximum security juvenile facility.

Now that's not a camp. It's a prison for young people. It's a maximum security facility with cells and wire, barbed wire, around it with a very structured environment, but it's not a adult facility and I cannot say what will happen with Nathaniel, but since that happened with Lionel Tate, it could happen in this case and especially since that case involved the intervention of the governor, I suspect that that is what will happen here. But again I am speculating. I am only looking at what happened in the past. Now this verdict, this second-degree verdict comes at the end of a very dramatic trial. There was six days of testimony, and of course, the headline witness was Nathaniel Brazill himself, 14 years old, sitting on the witness stand, first questioned by his own attorney, and then facing cross-examination from the veteran prosecutor Marc Shiner. The key issue in this trial: Was this shooting intentional? Did Nathaniel intend to kill his teacher, Barry Grunow?

The prosecution said that it was a premeditated murder. The defense says it was an accident. And wouldn't you know it, the jury came up with something right in the middle, a second-degree murder conviction, a spur-of-the moment killing, and as has been discussed, that is a very serious charge with a sentence that could lead-up to life in prison, potentially, but we heard Ken Padowitz say the range would be in the 25 year to somewhere in that area.

And Nathaniel on the stand was stoic most of the time. A lot of people criticized him and his attorney for allowing that to happen but there was indeed a moment where, under questioning from the prosecutor, when he was asked about what happened when Mr. Grunow fell to the floor, that Nathaniel Brazill did finally show some emotion while he was testifying under oath before the jury.


NATHANIEL BRAZILL, DEFENDANT: I don't know what was going on at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't remember? Can't remember?

BRAZILL: What do you mean? As he was falling to the ground, my hands were going down too. I was not intentionally pointing at him when he was falling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was unintentional too, Nate Brazill?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you unintentionally point the gun at Mr. James when he came to find out, to help his fellow teacher?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that was intentional?.

BRAZILL: Yes. I thought Mr. James was going to attack me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like Mr. Grunow attacked you?



POTTER: Now the prosecutor was able to make two points in questioning the young man before the jury. One: The prosecutor asked him to show the jury, to demonstrate, how that gun could have gun off accidentally, which is what he alleged, and the boy could not do that. He was also asked why he didn't do anything to help this man as he lay on the floor. Let's go now to the courtroom. The court is back in session, Judge Richard Wennet on the bench.

WENNET: Well, that's probably -- probably the July 4 weekend may not be a -- or July 4 week, or perhaps I am not sure that's going to give us enough time. How long would you like for the sentencing hearing itself? How long do you think that will take?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it will take a good part of the day, one whole day.

WENNET: Do you concur?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, we ask for the end of this month, the end of June, if possible.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) investigation, my guess won't take that long. Mr. Grunow's family are going to reserve their comments. I don't know about the defense side but I don't think it'll take that long, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

WENNET: OK. Actually, I didn't look at. Well, maybe June 29? That's a Friday.


ALLEN: Now to Roger Cossack, they are trying to figure out a date for the sentencing hearing, correct?

COSSACK: That's exactly what they are doing. The Judge has to clear his calendar to make sure that he has available time. That's why he's asking them how long he thinks it's going to take. They said one day, and when they talked about Mr. Grunow's family reserving the comments, that means that they are going to speak in the courtroom the day of sentencing.

WENNET: My calendar, my arraignment calendar. Would you like to do that?



WENNET: If I could also impose upon counsel to -- to provide each other, or just tell each other, the witnesses you plan on calling, so -- I'm sure you all should pretty much know that. And OK. Is there anything else to come before the court? And then we will set sentencing will be June the 29th at 8:30 in this courtroom. Is there anything else on behalf of the state?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the court want a judgment filled out at this point, Judge?

WENNET: No. No, I think for a appellate purposes and the like, I think the sentence and judgment should be rendered at the very same time.


WENNET: Anything else on behalf of the defense?


WENNET: Very well. Ladies gentlemen, and I want to thank counsel again for a very well done case. We're adjourned.

ALLEN: All right, let's go back to Mark Potter down in West Palm Beach. June 29 at 8:30 will be the sentencing for this young man, and there is Nathaniel Brazill, the last time we'll be seeing him until then, and we just heard, Mark, that the family will be speaking at this sentencing hearing. I guess we can ask this of Roger Cossack, too.

At that time is -- has the sentence already been rendered by the judge, when the family speaks? Or are their comments taken into consideration at that time for what the sentence might be?

COSSACK: Natalie, the family will speak before the sentence is decided. This is part of a trend in America, which I happen to think is a good one, where the victims have the opportunity -- or in this case, the victim's family -- have the opportunity to face the judge and tell exactly the pain and the sorrow that they've gone through. You heard them all. We heard them also talk about the fact the witnesses may testify at the sentencing hearing.

The defense may want to bring in people to talk about what it's like for this young man; to talk about his life, talk about his background, perhaps have his mother testify. All those kinds of things that you would expect in a sentencing hearing where, obviously, the defense is going to try and get the lightest sentence possible. And I'm sure that the prosecution will take all of these things also into consideration, now that they have the conviction.

ALLEN: So, at that time, on June 29th, might the judge take all the comments into advisement and not render a sentence on that day? Or will he do it that day?

COSSACK: Well, Natalie, that's a possibility, but I think it's a very rare possibility. I think that June 29th is the day that is set for the sentencing. Prior to that time, the judge will have received the presentence report that we've previously been talking about, which is an investigation into the background of Nathaniel Brazill. The judge will have heard -- the judge will have gotten -- received motions from both sides, and written memorandum, as to what they think the appropriate sentence is. But you know, June 29th at 8:30 is going to be the loneliest time in the world for Judge Richard Wennet, because that's the time that he is going to have to pass sentence on this 14-year-old boy, who has been convicted of second-degree murder.

ALLEN: Roger Cossack, we thank you, and we also wait to see if any of these attorneys are going to speak to the news media and walk up to microphones. And if that happens, we'll of course bring you their comments live.

We'll take a break. More after this.



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