FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Lionel Tate (search), the youngest person in modern U.S. history to be sentenced to life in prison, can return to his mother's home, a judge ruled Monday.
Tate, 17, had been living in another home for the past few weeks, but that family requested that he be removed because the frequent visits by probation officers were too stressful.Tate made headlines as a 12-year-old when he was charged with first-degree murder for killing family friend Tiffany Eunick.
He was convicted and sent to prison for life without a chance at parole, as required by state law. But he won a new trial on appeal and went free in January under a deal that placed him under court supervision for 11 years.
He was arrested for violating his probation by being out of his home overnight in early September following an argument with his mother. The terms of his probation call for him to remain at home except for school, work or church, unless he has permission from his probation officer.
Last month, a judge added another five years to the 10 years Tate had left on the original probation and warned him that any other problems would land him back in jail. The judge also allowed Tate to move in with the unidentified Broward County couple because of problems Tate was having at home.
But Monday, Tate's guardian ad litem, Howard Greitzer (search), told the judge the teen wanted to return home. Broward Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus asked Tate's mother, Kathleen Grossett-Tate, if she would abide by Tate's probation rules. Grossett-Tate, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, agreed.