BREVARD COUNTY, FLa. — A woman serving a life sentence for killing her 2-year-old stepson could soon be released from prison.
Stephanie Lee King, 52, was resentenced Tuesday afternoon after accepting a plea deal she rejected decades ago.
A judge found that King had "ineffective assistance of counsel" when she made that decision, and ordered the state to allow her another chance to take the plea agreement.
Nearly 20 years after her conviction on charges of felony murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of Michael Cox, King was back in a Brevard County courtroom.
King rejected a plea offer of 25 years in prison and was later sentenced to life behind bars.
“So the remedy then would be to put her back in the position, given proper advice and accepting a plea,” said defense attorney Kepler Funk.
King pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in the department of corrections, to be followed by 15 years of probation, with credit for time served.
“It is very difficult for the family,” said assistant state attorney Julia Lynch. “It was very difficult to let them know that this was going to occur.”
A victim's advocate read a statement from Michael Cox's mother, who was not in the courtroom.
“I relive that day over and over in my mind. All I can see is his sweet little smiling face when he left to go to his dad's,” the victim’s advocate said. “It's like time has stood still for me since that day. My broken heart will never mend.”
It's unclear just when King could be released, but with the nearly three years she spent in the county jail and the 19 years she's served in prison, it could be soon.
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