UK & World News
British Tourist's Killer Has Sentence Reduced
A man convicted of killing a British tourist in a botched robbery 20 years ago has had his life sentence formally reduced to 40 years.
Aundra Akins, now 34, could be out of prison in 12 years if he continues his clean disciplinary record behind bars.
The Florida 1st District Court of Appeal ordered a new sentencing hearing for Akins based on a US Supreme Court ruling which held that juveniles cannot receive ''natural life'' sentences.
Akins was 14 at the time of the crime.
He was with an adult and two other youths who went out after midnight on September 14, 1993, looking for people to rob at a motorway rest stop near Monticello, Florida, 25 miles east of Tallahassee.
They found Gary Colley and his companion, Margaret Jagger, sleeping in their car and in the confusion of the robbery, Akins shot Mr Colley in his head and grazed Ms Jagger in the chest.
Ms Jagger returned to Monticello for Friday's re-sentencing, noting that Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the assault.
''I personally think it's quite hard but, hopefully, Aundra has turned a corner and will be able to make some life, and will be able to come out in about 12 years with good behaviour,'' she said afterward.
''So, hopefully, then he can keep out of trouble in prison and have another life ahead of him, after prison.''
Circuit Judge Karen Gievers heard testimony from family members about Akins maturing in prison and getting his high school equivalency diploma, along with arguments against letting him out.
The Monticello murder was the last in a series of tourist assaults and killings that damaged Florida's family tourism brand in the mid-1990s.
Then-Governor Lawton Chiles ordered night-time security guards to be positioned at motorway rest stops and rental car companies abandoned markings that were known to thieves preying on travellers.