A convicted killer who shot a fellow Mosley High student more than a dozen times in 1994 has lost his request for a reduced sentence, State Attorney Larry Basford announced Friday.
Circuit Court Judge Ana Maria Garcia ordered that Thomas Robert McGill, 46, will continue to serve a 50-year sentence from his 1996 conviction for Murder in the First Degree and Armed Robbery in the 1994 shooting death of Torrey King. The defendant planned to rob King of steroids and shot him at least 13 times with two different pistols after his truck became stuck in the mud.
The defendant hid the body in the woods, found friends to help get his truck freed, then later returned and took the body to another location where he set it on fire. The defendant was 17 ½ at the time, King was 18.
“This was a brutal murder of a teenager, Torrey King, by his classmate in 1994,” Basford said. “Words cannot adequately describe the devastation it caused his family. I have spoken to them and they were relieved to learn that Judge Garcia refused to reduce the 50 year sentence that was previously imposed at the Defendant’s resentencing hearing in 2017. I pray this will bring them some peace.”
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The defendant was convicted of killing the victim in a wooded area off North Bear Creek Road the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, 1994. King was a passenger in the truck when it got stuck in the mud. The defendant, who had planned to rob King, shot him multiple times with a.22-caliber pistol after they exited the vehicle. When that weapon jammed, the defendant grabbed a .380-caliber pistol and continued shooting the victim.
The defendant was tried, found guilty and sentenced to Life in prison in 1996.
Later U.S. Supreme Court rulings changed the law on how offenders who commit capital or life felonies while they are juveniles should be sentenced. In 2014 Florida instituted a new sentencing framework for such cases. McGill appealed his life sentence based on that and in 2017 it was reduced to 50 years.
The same changes in Florida law state that a juvenile who commits a homicide and is convicted of murder is entitled to a review of his or her sentence after 25 years. The purpose is to determine if the juvenile offender “has been rehabilitated and is reasonably believed to be fit to reenter society.”
McGill’s Sentence Review Hearing was held Dec. 15, 2021, and he was seeking a reduction in sentence.
Judge Garcia, in rejecting that request, wrote, “The evidence in the present case suggests that Thomas McGill was not the juvenile offender the nation’s highest judicial officers had in mind when rendering their decisions” on sentencing juveniles.
Garcia noted the defendant was not influenced negatively by his surroundings or upbringing, did not commit the murder in an impulsive manner but rather did it in a “thoughtful, calculated and premeditated” manner, was not remorseful when caught, and was only 6 months from turning 18.
Garcia also had “significant concerns about the convenient timing of the Defendant’s demonstration of remorse.” McGill for decades maintained he acted in self-defense, only accepting responsibility shortly before his 2017 resentencing – 23 years after the murder.
“First, it remains unclear when – or, candidly, whether – the Defendant began to experience true remorse,” Garcia wrote, adding, “As the Court noted in its June 2017 sentencing order, the timing of the Defendant’s acknowledgement was – and remains – suspect.”
Basford thanked the victim’s parents and brother, who testified at the hearing, along with all involved with the lengthy process.
For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 850-381-7454.