Judge gives hope with new sentence
He was a teen when he was sent to jail for life. Now 44, he can be out in two years.
DADE CITY — Nearly three decades after he began serving life in prison, Christopher Kelly learned Friday that he could go free in two years.
Kelly, 44, appeared in court to get a new sentence for a crime he committed as a teenager: robbing a man, beating him unconscious and leaving him on the train tracks to die. U.S. Supreme Court rulings from the past decade about juvenile sentencing led to the proceeding.
Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge Susan Barthle gave him what his attorney and the prosecutor had agreed on: 65 years in prison, plus five years of probation. With his time served and gain time — credit given for good behavior or work in prison, for example — he’ll be eligible to leave prison as soon as June 2020.
Kelly was 15 in the summer of 1989, when he and two friends beat a man unconscious outside a Lacoochee bar, took the $14 he had on him and left him