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Law

Young killer faces armed robbery charge

Lionel Tate on probation in 1999 beating death of 6-year-old


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Lionel Tate and his mother, Kathleen Grossett-Tate, appear after the teen's release in January 2004.
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Florida
Judiciary (system of justice)
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(CNN) -- Lionel Tate, whose first-degree murder conviction in 2001 made him the youngest person sentenced to life without parole in the United States, was arrested Monday night after a pizza deliveryman said the 18-year-old robbed him at gunpoint in Pembroke Park, Florida.

At 14, Tate received life without a chance for parole after a jury found him guilty in the 1999 beating death of a 6-year-old playmate, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. Tate then accepted a plea deal.

Tate was charged Monday night with one count of armed burglary with battery, armed robbery and violation of probation, the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff's Office said.

Tate is accused of greeting Domino's delivery man Walter Ernest Gallardo with a handgun. Gallardo fled the scene, called 911 and returned to identify Tate, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Tate pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the beating death of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick and was sentenced to a year of house arrest and 10 years' probation.

In September, deputies discovered Tate, still under house arrest, outside his home in his Pembroke Park neighborhood with a knife in his possession. A judge extended his probation to 15 years, saying another violation would send the teen to jail.

During his trial, Tate's attorneys argued that Eunick's death was an accident. They said the 170-pound boy was imitating wrestling moves he had seen on television with the 48-pound girl.

The girl suffered some 35 injuries, including a ruptured spleen, lacerations to her ribs and damage to her rib cage, a fractured skull, brain contusions, a partially detached liver and bruises all over her body.

Prosecutors decided against a new trial after an appeals court tossed out Tate's conviction because he was not given a competency hearing before or during the trial. Instead, he was offered the plea deal.


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