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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Evidence shown in pizza robbery
Lionel Tate is accused of violating his probation for killing a 6-year-old girl when he was 12. A judge orders that he continue to be held without bail.
Published June 3, 2005
FORT LAUDERDALE - A fingerprint on a pizza box and two eyewitness accounts were key pieces of evidence investigators disclosed Thursday against Lionel Tate, accused of robbing a delivery man while on probation for killing a young girl.
Two Broward County sheriff's detectives said at a court hearing that a print matching Tate's was found on one of the four Domino's Pizza boxes brought to an apartment where the crime occurred.
Detectives Ben Koos and Anthony Delpozzo also testified that a 12-year-old boy who lives in the apartment gave a videotaped statement identifying Tate as the robber. The delivery man, Walter Gallardo, also made a positive identification.
Delpozzo said the boy knew Tate because he lived nearby. "He had seen him before," he said.
The detectives also said they found a .40-caliber bullet and a handgun ankle holster under Tate's mattress in a nearby townhouse he shares with his mother, a Florida state trooper.
Based on the testimony, Circuit Judge Joel Lazarus ordered that Tate continue to be held without bail pending an Aug. 8 hearing on whether to revoke his probation. That could mean a life sentence for Tate, now 18, who was freed following a plea agreement in the 1999 killing of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick.
Tate was 12 when he killed Tiffany while his mother was babysitting the child in their home.
The case drew international attention when Tate was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison. But in 2004 the conviction was overturned on appeal over pretrial issues, leading to a plea deal under which Tate was grantedprobation.
After Tate was found on the street late at night with a pocketknife last September, Lazarus warned him he could be returned to prison if such an incident occurred again. Lazarus then added five years to Tate's original 11-year probation period.
Tate appeared at Thursday's hearing butdid not speak. His mother, Kathleen Grossett-Tate, also attended but declined to talk to reporters.
Tate's lawyer, Jim Lewis, tried to establish inconsistencies in the detectives' investigation, particularly whether Tate was singled out unfairly and was simply one of several youths seen eating the pizza after the robbery.
"He's not guilty of anything but eating pizza," Lewis said. "He trusts that the truth will come out."
The location of the robbery weapon are still a mystery. A search of the Tate home revealed that three handguns belonging to his mother - including her state-issued service weapon - were missing. They have not been found.
The ankle holster found under Tate's mattress belonged to his mother and the bullet matched others she had.
Tate's attorney asked the judge to hold a jury trial on the armed robbery charges before passing judgment on the probation violation. But the judge said he would not schedule a trial on the new charges until after the Aug. 8 probation revocation hearing.
"This is not over," Lewis told reporters. "We're going to bring it up again."