Palm Bay teen enters conditional plea on murder, attempted murder charges

Palm Bay teen enters conditional plea on murder, attempted murder charges

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Morgan McNeil walked into a Brevard County courtroom Thursday and entered a “no contest” plea on charges relating to her involvement in the death of her boyfriend and the shooting of a state trooper.

McNeil, 16, was arrested in June during a trip to Ohio where investigators say she was going with her boyfriend to commit suicide.

During the trip, a Florida State trooper approached the pair about a problem with the headlights on their car. That is when McNeil’s boyfriend, 15-year-old Zayne Terryn, opened fire on the trooper.

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The trooper fired back and killed Terryn.

McNeil is being held responsible for the trooper’s injuries and Terryn’s death.

The plea she entered Thursday is conditional because her attorney wants her to be sentenced as a juvenile.

“Juvenile sanctions are appropriate in this case because this is a case that cries out for mental health treatment and rehabilitation and that’s the venue,” defense attorney Greg Eisenmenger said.

If sentenced as a juvenile, McNeil’s punishment would end when she turns 21.

If the judge decides to sentence her as an adult, she could face life in prison.

Prosecutors in the case charged the teen as an adult and want to see her sentenced as one.

“In our opinion, there needs to be more control over her for a longer period of time,” Assistant State Attorney Bill Respess said.

If that becomes the case, Eisenmenger said his client has reserved her right to withdraw the plea and take the charges to trial.

McNeil’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 16.