Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Sentinel Staff Writer
May 8, 2007, 11:12 AM EDT
An 15-year-old is headed to prison for 21 years after he pleaded guilty this morning to second-degree murder at the Orange County Courthouse.
Authorities believe Bryan Nevarez pulled the trigger, killing Marcus Mason, 23, on Dec. 1 as the Orlando electrician closed a gate behind his grandfather's auto-body shop near the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Investigators say Bryan and his friend, Corey Steplight, 14, wanted Mason's Grand Prix with fancy rims. Orange County Sheriff's deputies nabbed them hours later taking wheels off the car near Corey's home on 24th Street. Both teens were charged with first-degree murder. Corey's case is still headed for trial but prosecutors hope to work out a plea deal, said Assistant State Attorney Robin Wilkinson.
Mason's family was in court for the sentencing.
"I'm glad we have a conviction," said Mason's stepfather, Gerald Polk. "Right now we can have some type of closure." But he urges officials to change the juvenile system to hold teenagers more accountable for their crimes before it reaches a deadly situation. Both Corey and Bryan have juvenile records.
"It's affecting all of our lives," he said.