Lionel Tate allowed to return home

Nov. 30, 2004 at 10:53 AM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A Florida judge has allowed convicted killer Lionel Tate, the youngest U.S. child to be sentenced to life in prison, to return to his mother's home.

Tate, 17, lived with family friends for a month after he was found in a park after midnight and accused of probation violation, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Tate's attorney, Richard Rosenbaum, said the stress of dealing with probation officers was too much for the family that had taken him in.

Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus said Tate could return home, but admonished his mother, Kathleen Grossett-Tate, for what he said was misinformation she provided about her son's violation.

"I want you to understand completely that if I choose to put your son back into your residence, you will follow the rules," Lazarus told Grossett-Tate, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

Lionel Tate was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life for the beating death of a 6-year-old girl in 1999 when he was 12.

The conviction was overturned and he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea-bargain that resulted in his release from prison and probation.

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