• Maddie Clifton's family worries her killer could be set free

    By: Samantha Manning


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The family of an 8-year-old girl who disappeared exactly 17 years ago Tuesday worried her killer might go free because of a Supreme Court ruling that his attorneys are considering using as a basis to file a resentencing hearing.

    Maddie Clifton was killed in 1998 by her 14-year-old neighbor, Joshua Phillips, who was convicted and given a life sentence.

    Phillips, now 31, may get a chance to have his case reviewed because of a Supreme Court ruling calling for judges to reconsider cases involving minors getting life sentences.

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    “She was an innocent little eight-year-old girl that was outside playing the last time her mother saw her,” Action News Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said. “Now the pot is being stirred all over again and everything is coming back up with the possibility of this young man being freed.”

    In a statement, Maddie’s older sister said: “My family and I are still very moved by the support that we continue to get from friends and others around the community during this very tough week. Prayers help greatly and we are so very thankful for them. Unfortunately with this law being passed, we are very anxious to see what happens with a possible re sentencing hearing. My family and I have confidence in Angela Corey and John Guy to again bring justice for Maddie. They have been so passionate about this case and a blessing to our family. This is all in God's hands and Maddie lives in our hearts everyday!”

    Phillips' defense attorney has until Jan. 8 to file a resentencing motion.

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