It took a couple of months for a Jacksonville judge to make this decision, but he ultimately chose to resentence convicted killer Josh Phillips to life in prison.
Phillips was 14 when he killed 8-year-old Maddie Clifton and hid her under a bed in 1998.
Judge Waddell Wallace said he had a difficult time handing down the sentence -- and hoped Phillips could find a meaningful life in prison.
Phillips was originally sentenced to life in prison, but because of a Supreme Court ruling that said life in prison for juvenile was unconstitutional, his case was given a second look.
Wallace decided because of the heinous details of the case -- and the cold nature of Josh's behavior -- was enough to send him back to prison for life.
"Love your babies, love your family like there's no tomorrow," said Shelia Delongis, Maddie's mother.
Phillips' case will be reviewed again in six years, meaning he will get another chance to reduce his sentence.
10:32 a.m. Judge Waddell Wallace said this case "warrants a life sentence." Says "this is a sad day for me. I wish you well."
10:07 a.m. Judge Waddell Wallace says "It is unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to mandatory life. This is a horrific crime ... it has an extraordinary effect on the community."
Wallace says Phillips had a "cold detachment" after killing Maddie. @ActionNewsJax— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) November 17, 2017
10:01 a.m. The hearing has begun. | Watch live
UPDATE: @BridgetteAnJax says the hearing will begin around 10 a.m.
Phillips' attorney is asking for 40 years, Phillips could be resentenced to to life in prison. @ActionNewsJax— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) November 17, 2017
Convicted Jacksonville killer Joshua Phillips is expected to learn his fate Friday — for the second time.
Phillips is set to be resentenced for the 1998 murder of his neighbor, 8-year-old Maddie Clifton.
Phillips was 14 when he stabbed Clifton to death and hid her body under his bed.
I remember this nightmare when it happened. The many people who came out & walked the neighborhood looking for Maddie. Phillips was there & watched. He was only 14. Today is his rese tending. No doubt this opens old wounds for so many in Jax. Watch us live for the latest... https://t.co/lXwT8ORiyI— DawnDLOLopez (@DawnANjax) November 17, 2017
During a court hearing in August, Phillips took the stand and apologized directly to the family.
“I did something horrible, and i am so sorry,” Phillips said.
“It was good to hear,” said Jessie Clifton, Maddie’s sister. “It still doesn't change anything, but I think it needed to be said.”
Phillips is currently serving a life sentence. A recent Supreme Court ruling states mandatory life sentences for juveniles without parole are unconstitutional, which means felons like Phillips can be resentenced.
Phillips’ case will be up for review again in six years, even if a judge does not change his life sentence.
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