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    Judge reduces woman's murder sentence by 4 years

    By BILL LEVESQUE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 22, 2000


    LARGO -- A Tarpon Springs woman who killed her son-in-law during a child custody dispute had her original sentence cut by four years on Thursday.

    Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Raymond Gross resentenced Linda May Marter to 20 years in prison for the March 1997 shooting death of 26-year-old John Moreton Sr.

    Prosecutors said she killed him during a custody dispute over her grandson. Marter, 47, was convicted of second-degree murder.

    Gross originally sentenced Marter to 24 years in prison in early 1998. But an appeals court sent the case back for resentencing this year because Marter had been sentenced under state guidelines that since have been declared unconstitutional.

    As a result, Gross had to resentence Marter under older, guidelines calling for a sentence of no more than 21.6 years.

    Moreton had shown up in Tarpon Springs on March 22, 1997, with a new girlfriend and a court order giving him custody of his son, who was celebrating his fourth birthday.

    But Marter's daughter, the victim's estranged wife, changed the location of a birthday party to hide the child.

    Marter, prosecutors say, then lured Moreton out of his motel room with a lie. Prosecutors Shawn Crane and Brian Daniels said Marter told Moreton she was bringing the boy to him. She then killed him with a pistol.

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