CNN BREAKING NEWS
Boys' Conviction Thrown Out in Beating Death
Aired October 17, 2002 - 16:45 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: As we've been reporting just this hour, CNN has confirmed that the conviction of two young Florida boys convicted in the murder of their father has been overturned by a judge here in Florida.
Let's go back to my colleague Carol Lin in Atlanta, who is with one of the attorneys for the boys -- Carol.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Judy. Thank you very much.
Joining me by telephone is Sharon Potter. She is the defense attorney for the older boy, Derek King.
Sharon, can you hear me?
SHARON POTTER, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK KING: Yes, I can.
LIN: All right, tell me exactly, what happened in court today? You were asking for a -- were you asking for a new trial or were you asking for the conviction, the previous conviction to be dropped?
POTTER: We had actually filed a motion for a new trial. And that was the only motion we had filed that was on the table. And the judge granted that motion today.
LIN: All right. What exactly happened in court?
POTTER: Well, the judge stated that he did not believe the boys had received a fair trial. Therefore, he was going to grant them a new trial. But he also ordered us to mediation, which is kind of an unusual step to take. But the mediation will take place before a new trial ever occurs.
LIN: And, in this mediation, what is it that the judge hopes that you will be able to work out with the prosecution?
POTTER: Well, I think there's a possibility there that we won't even have to go back to trial, if we can work out some resolution to the case in mediation.
LIN: And what are the options for resolution here?
POTTER: I think it's wide open right now. We don't really have a legal limit imposed on us. It's not like a sentencing, where there are certain legal criteria we have to meet. Here, I think the options are wide open.
LIN: Sharon, this is such an unusual situation and a very high- profile case.
This is the story of Alex and Derek King, ages 13 and 14. They were found guilty in a trial of bludgeoning their father to death -- and unusual in the sense that -- just to bring the audience up to speed -- there were two separate trials, one for a man named Ricky Chavis, who was a friend of the family, and then a separate one for the boys. Ricky Chavis' jury found him not guilty. That verdict had been sealed until the boys had their own trial.
Two separate theories: One was that Ricky Chavis actually wielded the bat that killed the father of these boys; and the other that the boys actually committed the murder themselves. Was it the unusual circumstances of having two separate trials here that played to the favor of these young boys now?
POTTER: I believe it was. That was the basis of our argument. We don't know at this time what the basis of the judge's ruling was. We won't have it in a written order for several weeks.
LIN: In talking with our legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, what he was speculating is, in this mediation, that perhaps something could be worked out, perhaps a limited time in juvenile hall or mandatory counseling for these boys. Is that the line of thinking that you're following?
POTTER: That's a distinct possibility. And it's a definite departure from what we were looking at with the question of how many years of state prison they might receive.
LIN: Right. They were facing 20 years to life.
What is it that you think you would be fair in this case?
POTTER: I'm sorry. I couldn't understand your question.
LIN: I'm sorry, Sharon.
What is it that you think would be fair in this case for your client?
POTTER: Well, if you ask me, obviously, I represent Derek.
Well, let me backtrack a little. Our jury did not believe that the boys killed their father. And I think what would be fair to these boys at this point is that they would be allowed to return to family, try to have a normal life, receive some counseling for the victimization that they have endured at the hands of other people.
LIN: Sharon, could you clarify that, because the two boys were convicted, found guilty of killing their father?
POTTER: They were convicted of second-degree murder. That's true. But the jury has quite publicly stated that they do not believe the boys killed their father. They convicted the boys on the principal theory, believing that a third party actually wielded the bat and that the boys had participated by letting him in the house and then not calling for help afterwards.
LIN: All right, thank you very much, Sharon Potter.
Quickly, how's your client doing?
POTTER: A little better this afternoon than he was this morning.
LIN: All right, Derek 14 years old.
Thank you very much, Sharon Potter, the defense attorney for one of the young boys, Derek King.
All right, we're going to be following this case very closely here from the CNN Center.
In the meantime, stay right there. We're going to take a quick break and then it's going to be live back to Judy Woodruff with INSIDE POLITICS from Tampa, Florida.
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