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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Court Hearing on Settlement in King Brothers Case

Aired November 14, 2002 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: From Pensacola, Florida, Washington, New York, London, Cypress and other datelines around the globe.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge. Great to be with you.

Let's go to a courtroom in Florida on a story that's been unusual from the beginning.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JUDGE FRANK BELL, ESCAMBIA CO. CIRCUIT COURT: ... counsel for Derek King ready to go forward?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, your honor.

BELL: And counsel for Alex King ready to go forward?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. We have Mr. Eddins here, who the court a couple of weeks ago appointed as a mediator in the case. And prior to really getting into the contents of what we are doing today and the substance of it, I do want to get a couple of things on the record.

We -- after the mediation ended kind of late last night, the attorneys came up and asked me if I would see them, and we did have a fairly short hearing upstairs -- a case management conference. It was reported -- a court reporter was there.

And at that time, I indicated to all of the attorneys that the court order that was being prepared from the October 17 hearing, whenever I granted the defense motions for a new trial, that we were having some -- a little bit of difficulty in getting the transcripts. And as a result of that, the order that I was preparing was about two- thirds done at that time, and I advised both the state and the defense that it was about two-thirds done and I was in the process of finishing that.

And at that time, it was indicated by all parties -- the defense and the state -- that what they would prefer would be a one-page order granting the motion for a new trial and standard language of having 30 days to appeal from that. And both sides indicated they had no intentions of filing an appeal.

Is that the sum -- is that a fairly accurate comment on kind of that area that we talked about? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK, what about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor, assuming today's proceedings go as expected.

BELL: Oh, sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK, thank you.

Also, when we ended our case management conference, we were going to give Alex and Derek King an opportunity to discuss the matter with their families, and they could talk with any family member they wanted to and any family member that they desired or trusted or they wanted to talk to, and they did name some folks. And it was tried to -- I think it was set up for a night out at the jail for Alex and Derek King to discuss the matter with their families, people that were -- that were involved with them.

I assume that took place. I don't know that.

JAMES STOKES, ATTORNEY FOR ALEX KING: Yes, your honor, Les Williams (ph), the director of the jail, made sure that happened, and they were given over an hour in a conference -- in his office, as a matter of fact -- where they could meet with the boys.

BELL: What about Derek's request that he talk with whoever he wanted to? Was that accomplished as far as you all were concerned?

DENNIS CORDER, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK KING: As far as we know, he was able to talk to everyone he wished to talk to last night.

BELL: OK. Do we need to take up any matters at this time, other than the matters that we were basically discussing last night?

DAVID RIMMER, PROSECUTOR: Well, Judge, I don't know if you've been made aware of it, but five minutes before the hearing, I was handed a copy of the motion for competency examination filed on behalf of Alex and Derek, not by their attorneys of record, but by the attorneys from Miami. Mr. Leo Thomas (ph) is here as well.

BELL: Well, let me ask -- I haven't seen it.

RIMMER: Well, I didn't think you had.

BELL: But let me just ask one question. How is it that someone other than the people that are participating in this case have standing to file anything?

RIMMER: That's a good question, Judge. I don't think they do, but I wanted to bring that to the court's attention, you know, to let you know they've done that, and they are here. I think we should proceed on with this hearing. I don't think they have standing. Mr. Stokes and Mr. Corder and Ms. Potter are the attorneys of record, and if they're ready to proceed, I am ready to proceed.

BELL: Mr. Corder, you and Mrs. Potter, I haven't seen it, but I take it at what Mr. Rimmer said...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I approach?

BELL: Sure, I'll be happy to take a look at it.

CORDER: Your honor, on behalf of myself and Ms. Potter, we believe that Ms. Potter is the attorney of record of Mr. Derek King. There are no other attorneys of record representing Mr. Derek King at this time, nor have there been other attorneys since the public defender's office withdrew from his representation early in this matter.

As Mr. King's attorneys, we do not feel that he needs to be evaluated for competency at this time. Each of us have represented a great deal of clients in front you and other judges in this county. We have the ability to recognize when our clients need to be evaluated for competency and when that is not necessary.

And taking all of the factors into consideration in this case, we do not feel that it is necessary for Mr. Derek Allen King to be evaluated for competency at this time. We feel he's competent to proceed.

BELL: Ms. Potter, any comments?

SHARON POTTER, DEREK KING'S ATTORNEY: No, your honor.

BELL: Mr. Stokes, any comments concerning this motions that's been filed by somebody that's not even the attorney of record?

STOKES: Yes, your honor. I was handed a copy, and I didn't even bother to review it. Alex is extremely competent to proceed. I have no doubt of that.

These attorneys have assured me on numerous occasions that they would not, in fact, do this. I was actually called by one of them, and he told me that not only was he no longer going to be involved in any way with helping Alex, that I would rue the day that I ever mentioned his name again, he is out of it, I am out of it. And then we get this. I think this is nothing more than grandstanding and should be absolutely ignored.

BELL: Mr. Eddins?

BILL EDDINS, MEDIATOR: Your honor, with regard to this matter, I have a letter dated November 4 that I faxed to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) along with the proof that it went through for each of them, but I think it might be appropriate to make it a part of the record.

BELL: Sure, I'll be happy to do that. You want to just give me... EDDINS: A summary?

BELL: ... a summary of it? I'll be happy to mark it as -- we'll mark the letter, as well as the fax information of where it went through. We'll mark it as Court Exhibit No. 1. If you all would mark that and file it, please.

EDDINS: Basically, your honor, with regard to Mr. Keenan (ph), he contacted me at home by telephone, and I discussed with him the fact that there was a possibility that he would be working with Mr. Stokes. I told him I looked forward to working with him, and made him aware that the initial session of the mediation process was scheduled for November 7.

I made it clear to him at that time -- which I believe was on the Saturday, although I'm not sure, before the 7th -- that in order to participate in mediation process, I felt that before I could discuss anything with him, he would need to be attorney of record.

Then Ms. Winetraub (ph) called me the next day at my office on Sunday, November 3, and indicated that she and Mr. Keenan (ph) were going to be appearing at the mediation, and that she was the attorney of record. I explained to her that I had obtained a copy of her notice of appearance, and that it was a limited appearance for most trial matters and for sentencing, and that I did not feel that included mediation, but she needed to make an appearance of general appearance as attorney of record before that I could include her in the mediation and I indicated I'd be glad to include her once that occurred.

And I, again, told her when the mediation would be. At that time, she indicated that she would -- quote -- "be filing something with the court either Monday or Tuesday," which is the 4th or 5th. And I told her again that I was looking forward to working with all of the attorneys who were attorneys of record, and that I looked forward to having her involved in the mediation process.

In order to eliminate any misunderstanding, I decided that I would fax the letter, which contains a summary of that, and I wanted to make sure that there was no misunderstanding. So, in closing in the letter, I asked both of these attorneys that if that did not accurately reflect all of my conversation with you, or is not your recollection of the conversation, I would prefer that they contact me in writing immediately to make sure there is no misunderstanding or miscommunication.

BELL: OK, thank you very much, Mr. Eddins.

The motion that Mr. Rimmer gave me is a motion that's filed by these two lawyers, and the last time I looked at the rules, attorneys of record were supposed to file pleadings on behalf of clients. And that pleading, I'll be happy to file it in the clerk's office, but that pleading is a nullity. That pleading is a nullity.

But we'll file it for the purposes of having it in the file, but it's not only for the purpose of you can mark it as a Court's Exhibit No. 2, just for the fact it's been filed. But as to what bearing it has, it has no bearing, because they have no standing. They have no standing.

Both sides announced, ready to proceed? Is that where we are?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Let me ask Derek and Alex, if you would come up. I want to ask you a couple of questions about what transpired.

OK. You all were present last night when we had this case management conference with your attorneys. We had a court reporter there. And certain things were presented to me, and I asked certain questions of people that were there, and we kind of left that case management conference last night with this kind of understanding. The attorneys of record wanted to speak with the families, because I think they had told them that they were going to, in fact, be in touch with them.

And I think, also, it was asked if Derek and Alex could speak with certain family members last night, before this proceeding today. I thought that was a very reasonable request. I had no problem with it. And both Alex and Derek King listed the people that they wanted to see and discuss this with. And to my knowledge, based upon what the attorneys of record have said, they've had that opportunity.

And I guess I really want to find out, first of all, from Alex, and then I'll ask Derek in just a minute. Alex, is that accurate what I said that last night, I said you could talk with any family member that you wanted to and discuss this prior to today?

ALEX KING, DEFENDANT: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK, you have to speak up a little bit.

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. And did you have a chance to talk with the people, your family out at the jail last night, and discuss with them about what was going on with you and your lawyers, and what was going to be happening today?

A. KING: Yes, sir.

BELL: OK. And were you very candid with them? Were you open with them? And did you tell them exactly what was happening here -- what was going to be happening today?

A. KING: I answered their questions.

BELL: OK, you answered their questions? OK. Are you satisfied from talking with your parents that -- I'm sorry, not your parents -- but your family that you want to go ahead and go forward with this today?

A. KING: Yes, your honor. BELL: OK. Derek, I'll ask you the same thing. Last night when we kind of adjourned the case management conference, you also wanted to be able to talk with your family. And of course, I told you that's fine with me, and I'd be more than happy to let you talk with anybody you wanted to, somebody -- anybody you trusted. And did you have a chance last night to talk with those folks that you wanted to talk with?

DEREK KING, DEFENDANT: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. And were you able to have a discussion with them and a dialogue back and forth as to what happened last night, and what was going to be happening today?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you feel that you all had an open discussion, and you all were straightforward with each other?

D. KING: Yes, sir.

BELL: OK. Are you prepared today to go forward with what we talked about last night?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you understand that based upon some -- again, some correspondence that is really not a pleading -- it's not a pleading in this case, but I really do think it's important that we cover this. Do you understand that, in particular, the only one I know about anyway at this point, that in particular -- and the reason why I know about it is that I had received a fax this morning from -- I received a fax this morning concerning both of you from Kelly Marino, who I believe is your biological mother, and Mrs. Marino indicated that she was opposed to these proceedings today. Did you talk with your mother last night?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Derek, you talked with her? What about you, Alex? Did you talk with your mother last night?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. And are you aware that basically your mother is opposed to this proceeding taking place today, and that she says that you are -- let me see what she says. She says that -- she says she doesn't believe that you're competent to know what you're doing here today. Did you know that she believes that?

D. KING: Yes, sir.

BELL: OK, Derek, you know that she knows -- that she believes that. Alex, do you know that she believes that?

A. KING: Yes, your honor. BELL: OK. Did she tell you that -- that she didn't think you all were competent?

A. KING: No.

BELL: She didn't tell you that? What about you, Derek?

D. KING: She didn't say it like that, but, yes, something like that.

BELL: OK. Well, do either one of you feel that you don't understand fully what's going on here, and that the decision that both of you have made is an informed decision? Do you feel that anybody has said anything to you that -- trying to mislead you or anything like that, Derek?

D. KING: No, sir.

BELL: What about you, Alex?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you think that -- do you think -- you know what competence is, don't you, Alex?

A. KING: Yes, sir.

BELL: OK. Competence means that you have the ability -- you have the mental ability to actually know what's going on today, and you're mature enough to make a decision for yourself. Do you think that you are mature enough to make a decision for yourself?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: But you've also had a chance to discuss it with your family.

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Do you think you're incompetent, Alex?

A. KING: No, I don't.

BELL: OK. Derek, do you understand what I'm saying?

D. KING: Yes, sir.

BELL: Do you think you're incompetent and incapable of making a decision for yourself as to what you think is in your best interests?

D. KING: No, sir.

BELL: OK. You know your mother doesn't agree with it, though?

D. KING: Yes, sir. BELL: OK. You know your mother wants to have each one of you examined by a psychiatrist or a psychologist to assess that you understand what you're doing here today. Do you think -- Derek, do you think you understand what we're doing here today?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. You've had long hours of discussion with your attorneys about it, haven't you?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Didn't you have a long discussion with Mr. Eddins, who was the mediator appointed in this case, about what about this about and the alternatives that were available?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. What about you, Alex? Do you think you understand what's going on here today, and what these proceedings are all about?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: You've had a chance to talk with your attorney for hours, haven't you?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Did you have a chance to talk with Mr. Eddins, the court mediator, about these matters, about alternatives, and things of that nature?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you think anybody has tried to mislead you or do anything other than to be straightforward with you?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: OK. One of the things that also your biological mother says is that she does not believe that your lawyers investigated any legal options or determined any alternatives.

I'll ask Alex, first. Mr. Stokes has been your lawyer for sometime, has he not?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you trust him?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Do you think that Mr. Stokes has, prior to Mr. Eddins becoming involved as a mediator and after Mr. Eddins becoming involved as a mediator, do you think that different alternatives were explored and talked about as to what ultimately might happen to you and your brother?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Were those alternatives explained to you by Mr. Stokes and also by Mr. Eddins in the mediation process?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Did you understand them?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Same question, Derek, as to you, about your attorneys. Your attorneys have been representing you for sometime?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you trust them?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Do you think that your lawyers, prior to mediation, as well as after mediation began and Mr. Eddins became involved in this, do you think that they were all making an effort to explore possibilities and alternatives and options -- legal options that were available for both you and your brother, Alex?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Do you think that what your attorneys have done for you in representing you, do you think it's been done in your best interests?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Do you think they have your best interests at heart?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: And I take it from your answers, Derek, that even though your mother might not be satisfied with your attorneys, are you satisfied with the representation they gave you, sir?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Alex, I'll ask you the same question. Although your mother is not happy with Mr. Stokes, are you satisfied with the representation that Mr. Stokes has given you?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Do you think Mr. Stokes' representation of you, that he has your best interests at heart?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Are each one of you ready to go forward with what we talked about last night in that case management conference?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: What about you, Alex?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. First of all, I'll ask the state, Mr. Rimmer, the score sheet that has been prepared on both Alex and Derek King comes to a total of 231 points, based upon the charge. And that if you put the mathematics on the score sheet, it breaks down to a lowest permissible prison sentence of 12.68 years, maximum of 45 years in the state prison; now, that being 30 years for arson and 15 for the other charge.

Does both counsel for Derek and Alex King, do you agree as to the accuracy of the score sheet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

BELL: OK. What about you, Mr. Stokes? OK. Both defense counsel -- all defense counsel acknowledges the accuracy of the score sheet, and I will take and sign as to the accuracy of the score sheet on both Derek and Alex King.

Now, the agreement that I've been handed up on -- let's take Derek first -- is that Derek is charged in Case No. 015612 with second-degree murder and a second count of arson. Now, under this agreement that's been entered into by both the state, as well as Derek King through his attorneys, indicates that Derek is going to enter a plea of guilty to Count I as to a lesser included offense of third- degree murder, which carries a maximum of 15 years in the state prison. And he is pleading his charge as to Count II, which is the arson count. And of course, if you take those two statutory maximums, that comes to the 45 years under the guidelines.

Now, as a result of that plea, the agreement provides that there would be an adjudication of guilt, and that Derek King would be sentenced to eight years incarceration in the state prison system. That he would also make full statements regarding the circumstances of Terry King's death.

Now, is that the state's understanding of the plea and the sentence?

RIMMER: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. I'll ask defense counsel for Derek King if that is their understanding of the plea, as well as the sentence, under the agreement?

CORDER: Yes, your honor.

POTTER: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Derek, I'll ask you if that is your understanding of what you will be pleading to and the sentence that will be imposed?

D. KING: Sir?

BELL: I will ask you if that's your understanding of the plea that you will be entering. You will be pleading guilty to third- degree murder and to arson, and that the sentence would be eight years in the state prison.

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Now, Derek, you signed this agreement, is that correct?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Now, before you signed this agreement, did you have a chance to go over it with your lawyers?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Did your lawyers explain to you what the agreement meant and the circumstances of what you would be pleading to and the sentence that would be imposed?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Now, also, as part of this plea agreement, you have attached to that a factual statement -- a factual basis as to the crime, and I want to read that as part of the agreement, but I do want to read it into the record, just like I did last night, to ask you if there was any problems with it. And I'll read it at this time. I want you to pay attention now, Derek. I want you to pay attention, OK?

It says: "I, Derek Allen King, do hereby freely and voluntarily swear the following is true. No. 1, Rick Chavez encouraged my brother, Alex, and I to run away. He gave Alex $20 and two keys (a key to his fence and a key to his door), so that we could get into his house. Alex and I stayed at Rick's house until I was caught by the police and paced."

"During that time, Rick told us that we could stay with him forever. He allowed us to skip school. He allowed us to use marijuana. He hid us when our dad came by, so that we would not be caught. He planted a fake call on his answering machine to make it look like we were not staying with him and played it to my dad. He allowed us to wake up as late as we wanted. He allowed me to smoke cigarettes. He offered to have sex with me. He spent a lot of time kissing Alex while Alex sat on his lap. He offered to hide us from my dad until we turned 16 years old and could live where we wanted."

"He told us that dad would kill us before he would let us live with Rick. He told us that he might have to protect us from our dad. He told us that our dad mentally abused Alex by -- quote -- 'staring him down,' which Rick said was extreme mental abuse."

"On the night of my dad's death, Alex told me that Rick was going to come by and pick us up at midnight. Alex suggested that I kill dad. I murdered my dad with an aluminum baseball bat. I set the house on fire from my dad's bedroom. We went to the Easy Serve (ph) on the corner of Muskogee Road and called Rick, who came right away and picked us up."

"Rick drove us to a field just over the Alabama line and told us to take off our clothes. We rode in the trunk of his car in our underwear with the clothes to Rick's house. We rode in the trunk so nobody could see us. We had done this before during the time that we ran away."

"We spent the next two days at Rick's house. While at Rick's house, Rick washed our clothes as soon as we got to house. That was Rick's idea. We smoked marijuana and slept in Rick's room the first night. Alex slept in Rick's bed, and so did I."

Rick started talking about what we should say to the police. He told us to say we killed our dad because dad abused us. That was not true. My dad never abused me. He told us to say the killing was in self-defense. He told us to lie and not tell the police about ever being in his house or his picking us up at the EZ-Serve. He told us to tell the police we hitchhiked to Pace instead. We went over this many times until Rick was sure we would get it right. Rick then called Reggie Jernigan (ph) and turned us into the police. The first story we told the police was partially true, the rest was changed to protect Rick and then you signed that and you dated it November the 13th, and it's also signed by your attorneys. And you stick with that, Derek?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. At this time, Derek, I'm going to ask you how do you plead to count I to the lesser included offense of second-degree murder? How do you plead to the lesser included of third-degree murder, sir?

D. KING: Guilty, your honor.

BELL: Now, you understand by pleading guilty that you are admitting to the crime?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: And you admitting to the factual basis that you signed that has been attached to this plea agreement?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: How do you plead as to count II which is the arson count, which is a 30-year felony? how do you plead to that account?

D. KING: Guilty, your honor.

BELL: You understand there is going to be an adjudication guilt? That is part of the agreement. And you will then be sentenced to the state prison for eight years? D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Now, let's take, under count I, and sentence Derek King to eight years in the state prison. Under count II, we'll sentence him to eight years running concurrent -- running concurrent, meaning they're running together. What I would like to, at this time, is -- and I think it's very important, because it was part of the mediation process, let's go ahead, before we get Mr. Eddins involved, let's go ahead and take Alex King.

Now, Alex, I've already talked with you about whether or not you know what is happening here and you indicated that you do. Now, under the agreement that you signed, you would be entering a plea to a lesser included offense of third-degree murder and a second count of arson and under the agreement that I've been handed, you would receive seven years in the state prison and that you would also truthfully testify in the trial of Ricky Chavez on the accessory charge and in the trial of Ricky Chavez on the lewd and lascivious charge and you would make a full statement regarding the circumstances of Terry King's death. Now, is that your understanding, Alex, of the plea that you will be entering and the sentence that will be imposed?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Now, you signed this agreement, is that correct? You signed it? You signed it? And before you signed it, did you understand what you were signing?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Did you go over it with your lawyer?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Now, you say you understood it and you say you went over it with your attorney. Did your attorney answer any questions that you might have had about the agreement that you didn't understand? Did you have any questions and you asked your attorney and did he answer them, to your satisfaction?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. Is there anything about the plea agreement that you now have a question about or you don't understand?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Derek, I'll ask you the same thing. You did sign the agreement. You did go over the agreement with your attorneys. You've acknowledged that. Were your attorneys able to answer any questions that you might have had about the plea agreement, about what you would be pleading to and the sentence that would be imposed?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: Is there anything right now about this plea or about this sentence that is a question in your mind or is there anything that you do not understand about these proceedings that you want to ask me that I can answer either for you or for Alex King?

D. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: What about you, Alex? Is there anything about what we are doing here that you don't understand, that you want to ask me?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: I'll ask both of you this -- has anyone made you any promises as to what is going to happen, other than what is contained in these written plea agreements? Has anyone promised you anything other than what is provided for in this written plea agreement, Derek?

D. KING: Sir?

BELL: Has anyone ever made you any promises other than what is contained in this plea agreement?

D. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: What about you, Alex?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Now, has anyone forced you to sign the agreement, Alex?

D. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Has anyone threatened you to get you to sign the agreement?

D. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Has anybody put any pressure on you to get you to sign the agreement?

D. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: What about you, Alex? has anybody -- anyone forced you to sign this agreement?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Has anyone put any pressure on you to get you to sign this agreement?

A, KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Has anyone threatened you to get you to sign this agreement?

A. KING: No, your honor.

BELL: Do you think this agreement, Alex, is in your best interest? do you think it's what is best for you under the circumstances of this case?

A. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: What about you, Derek? do you think this agreement is what -- do you think it's in your best interests, based upon the circumstances and the totality of all of the circumstances in this case?

D. KING: Yes, your honor.

BELL: OK. OK. Alex, how do you plead to the amended -- not the amended, but the lesser included count under count I to third-degree murder, sir?

A. KING: Guilty.

BELL: And how do you plead to the second count of arson?

A. KING: Guilty.

BELL: OK. Let's take and adjudge both of them to be guilty on both of those counts. At this time, I would like to ask Mr. Eddins, if you'd come forward, please.

And, Mr. Eddins, I know we kind of did this last night a little bit. We didn't go into a great amount of detail, but these numbers, in relation to incarceration in state prison system, seven years for Alex and eight years for Derek, I know these were agreed to by the state, with Mr. Rimmer and also Mr. Golden. Isn't that true, Mr. Rimmer?

RIMMER: That's true, your honor.

BELL: That they were just not arbitrarily selected and done. I want you to tell me why these numbers were selected and why, as far as the state is concerned, because they did tell me last night they thought this was a fair agreement for both the state and the defense, is that true, Mr. Rimmer?

RIMMER: That's correct, your honor.

BELL: Tell me why you think, as a mediator, based on the totality of the circumstances in this case and based upon the age of Derek and Alex, and, quite honestly, the death of Terry King, which we can't forget here, why these numbers were selected and why it was resolved in that fashion?

EDDINS: Your honor, the short answer is because we received a presentation from the Department of Corrections regarding the prison that they have available for youthful offenders at their age that have been certified or indicted and treated as adults. This particular sentence will allow them to go to one of two prisons that will give them stability and structure in their life, these are programs that would not be at other prisons.

The reason that -- one of the reasons that we agreed on eight years for Derek is that in that prison, if we had put him in prisons longer than that, he would have had to have been transferred from that prison to another prison and we felt that that would give him his ability. And I'd like to go into a little bit of detail because the presentation by the Department of Corrections was actually quite good. And it gives a little more insight as to why it was agreed that it would be seven to eight years instead of some longer term.

BELL: Let me interrupt for one second, and mark this brochure sure as a court exhibit, what, number three (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

BELL: This is the brochure, I believe, that you have reference to and we'll mark that as a court exhibit number three (ph).

EDDINS: And your honor, that brochure, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at the mediation. It is basically established that if -- if this agreement is implemented by the court, they would initially be evaluated (UNINTELLIGIBLE) while there; medical and psychological needs, education and vocational needs, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and other matters. They will be evaluated separately with the people their own age, not the general prison population. They will be placed either at the Indian River Correctional Institute (ph) or The Hills Burrow (ph) Correctional Institute. The Indian River Correctional Institution (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The advantage of those facilities is youths for these young men, because they want be placed with other young men their age.

And while the outside of the prison is secure, inside of the prison is a campus-like approach. And they will have academic programs there including; basic education, computer-assisted construction and other types of education related to that. They will also have available, full-time on staff, 24 hours a day -- a physician.

There was some concern from a medical standpoint, because Derek is very active, and has been assessed as hyperactive in the past. And it's very important that he be assessed and have access to a doctor (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They also have psychologists of whom -- we were explaining to -- explained to us that they will be available 24 hours a day for these two young men if and when they decide that they need some counseling -- to contact the counselor and go through a counseling program. As I will explain in a few moments, I'm not going to explain it now and jump ahead a little bit.

This is a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) facilities have something similar to, what used to be called boot camp, but they have done away with a lot of the negative aspects of that (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And instead have replaced it with getting privileges if you participate, and successfully into the program.

And the program basically -- what's happened is the department of corrections has learned that young people at this age need to be a lot more active, and it's difficult to manage them if you don't keep them active. So they developed a structured 16-hour program, that allows these young men to start out at the lower level, and as they go through the program, gradually get more and more privileges. It's based upon the positive feedback as opposed -- as opposed to medical. In addition to that, your honor, they will have vocational programs that they can study there, and then they is a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is great news, I get up in the morning, and this is an example of the day. And they go through their education in the morning, in counseling or other evaluations in the afternoon. They have recreation day there, and they have sports leagues, they have other aerobic conditioning if you're interested. Library facilities available and you're allowed to use those, and recreation is a part of the daily program.

So once that presentation was made to us, it was so informative, the defense took the position that this was just very important to give these boys, as we all know, had instability in their life, some sense of stability, some sense of structure, and some sense of a way for them to build -- to try to rebuild their life. And the defense really fought very hard. In fact, I mean, it was very insistent that -- that the time be as presented, and I presented those arguments to the state, Mr. Rimmer.

BELL: Mr. Rimmer, if you want to come up? Come up.

EDDIN: He was -- Mr. Rimmer was here the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) presentation. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ask questions was very receptive. We're trying to fashion a program for these children that would allow them to overcome this matter, and go on and lead a productive life. And be honest with you, as we went through the process that became the focus of the mediation. And, really, without going into too much detail, I think that -- all parties involved in the process should be commended, because they fought very hard for what they believed in, and there was some very significant differences of opinion. At the same time, they were very professional and were willing to exchange ideas.

And after numerous meetings, not just two days down in the courthouse, we had meetings with defense lawyers and other people -- over other days. This was the conclusion we came to as far as what would be in the best interests of these children, and not forget, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) there were recommendations of proposals floating about sending these young men -- to boys town in Nebraska. Proposals floating about putting them in juvenile facilities, and that was an evaluation. And the state would not agree to any of those for various reasons. One of the factors that was made--

MARTIN SAVIDGE: Pensacola, Florida, is the courtroom where the final act of what has been one of the most unusual legal cases in U.S. history is playing out.

It involves two young teenage boys; that would be 14-year-old Derek King and 13-year-old Alex King, They were accused at one time, convicted of second-degree murder for the murder of their father, that was Terry King. There was a third person, a friend of the family, who was also tried on similar murder charges in a separate case. That person was acquitted. The judge (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the same one presiding here, decided to overturn the convictions of the two young men. It gets very confusing, but they have entered pleas today. We want to bring in CNN's Mark Potter, he's been following the story.

Mark, try to explain and clear this all up for us as to what we've just been watching.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the bottom line, Marty, is that these boys will not be retried. This is a negotiated plea, in effect, and it goes like this. The two boys have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. Also to arson and in exchange for that, they have received lesser sentences than they had -- they would have gotten had the original conviction of second-degree murder stood. But it was thrown out, and a mediation was ordered. They pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and arson and the older boy, Derek, got an eight- year sentence in the state prison system. His younger brother, Alex, who is 13, got a 7-year sentence.

And they will, after being processed at a place called Lake Butler, they will either go to a facility in Vero Beach, Florida or in Tampa. Which are designed -- state facilities, they're in the adult system, but they are designed for young offenders. And they will, as we heard Mr. Bill Eddins say be a structured program with psychologist and training, and probably more than anything else stability.

And which is very important for these boys who had a little stability in their lives. They were given up for foster care early in their lives and bouncing between homes, back and forth. And now they will find it, unfortunately, of course it will be in the state prison system. But the mediator who was picked by the court, Bill Eddins, said everybody tried to come up with a system, and a place where they could have some stability for years, and try to get back on track.

They're very young and the hope, of course, that they can be rehabilitated. The other important thing that happened here is, and this was something that the prosecutor really wanted, the boys have agreed to tell the truth about what happened. And they have said as sworn before the court, that they, indeed, were ultimately responsible for the killing of their father. Although they did say that Ricky Chavez did play a role. And the youngest boy will be testifying against Ricky Chavez in the trial that he still faces, two other trials. He was acquitted of the murder, but faces two other trials, lewd and lascivious acts upon the young boy and accessory to murder charge, and those will be tried sometime in the future.

Marty back to you.

SAVIDGE: Wow, there is no shortage of tragedy in this particular case.

Mark Potter, thank you very much. Live from Pensacola, Florida.

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