MIAMI (WSVN) - After 26 years, a convicted murderer was granted a shorter sentence and the victim’s family is not happy about it.
Forty-two-year-old Nakia Huggins was serving a life-sentence in prison for the 1991 murder of Paul Sarnecki.
Huggins was 16 years old when he was first sentenced in 1992. However, in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders are unconstitutional.
The victim’s widow, Lori Sarnecki, said that she forgives Huggins but believes that he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. “‘Oh, it shouldn’t be life because his brain wasn’t fully developed,'” she said. “What about my children? Their brains, ‘bam,’ they are fully developed at 5 and 10. They comprehend that their daddy is gone.”
Sarnecki’s 10-year-old daughter Chrissy and 5-year-old son were both in the car when armed robbers, Huggins among them, fatally shot the victim.
They were leaving his new restaurant near Homestead at the time of the incident.
“Mr. Huggins, even though he was the killer, he was the shooter,” said Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin, “because he was a juvenile, he’ll be released probably in about 15 years.”
The only time Huggins has to live out behind bars is for the crimes he did while in jail. “He was charged with setting his cell on fire, and in 2005, he was involved in a terrible prison riot,” Rifkin said.
“I wish that somebody that made that decision in the Supreme Court, please explain to me if you did, how do you justify to us?” Lori said crying. “You look me in the eye, and you justify why we got the life sentence, not the guy that shot him five times. He emptied his gun.”
The prosecution said they will look into fighting this sentence if they can.
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