Amber Wright was fifteen years old when she helped murder a teenage boy in Florida. According to court documents Amber Wright was dating a new guy named Michael Bargo and a plan arrived to murder her former boyfriend Seath Jackson. Amber Wright lured the young man to a home where he was brutally murdered and his body would be cut up and burned. Amber Wright and the rest of the group would be arrested and convicted. This teen killer would be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Michael Bargo was sentenced to death and remains on Florida death row
Amber Wright 2020 Information
|Name:||WRIGHT, AMBER E|
|Initial Receipt Date:||08/23/2012|
|Current Facility:||HOMESTEAD C.I.|
|Current Release Date:||SENTENCED TO LIFE|
Amber Wright Other News
Amber Wright will serve life in prison for her role in the 2011 murder of her 15-year-old ex-boyfriend, a judge ruled on Tuesday. Her sentence will be subject to review after 25 years.
“I have not seen or heard anything more despicable than what lead to Seath Jackson’s death,” Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti told Wright before handing down her sentence.
“I cannot imagine a circumstance any worse, and I pray to my God that the reason behind all this is some chemical imbalance or a brain that hasn’t matured. It’s really hard to deal with the notion that such an evil could exist without an explanation,” Tatti continued.
Tatti’s words — and the sentence he selected for the 19-year-old Amber Wright — echoed those of Circuit Judge David Eddy, who first sentenced Wright in 2012 after a joint trial with her teenage brother and co-defendant. Eddy, at the time, called the murder the most heinous he had seen in 15 years as a judge.
The siblings were among five young people who in 2011 lured Seath to a Summerfield home, where they beat him, shot him and burned his body in a backyard fire pit. Law enforcement authorities recovered Seath’s remains days later in paint buckets dumped at a nearby quarry, where two of the five co-defendants had disposed of them the day after the murder.
Assistant State Attorneys Amy Berndt and Robin Arnold cast the murder as an escalation of animosity between Seath and Amber Wright, who had broken up on poor terms, and between Seath and another co-defendant, Michael Bargo, whom Amber dated after the breakup.
An appellate decision brought Wright back to Marion County for a retrial in January, based on an issue with the timing of her Miranda rights. Although her jury in January again found her guilty of first-degree murder, a statute change between her 2012 sentencing and her sentencing Tuesday left open the possibility of a lighter sentence.
While Florida Statute in 2012 mandated life in prison as the minimum sentence for any first-degree murder conviction, even if the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the murder, it today allows for more discretion on the part of judges in cases with juvenile defendants.
Amber was 15 at the time of the murder, the same age as the victim and the youngest of the five co-defendants.
In a letter she read aloud at the hearing, Sonia Jackson, the victim’s mother, said she has thought about the argument that prompted the statute change: that children’s still-developing minds and consciences are fundamentally different than those of adults, suggesting that children should not be subject to the same penalties.
But in Amber’s case, Jackson rejected that argument, emphasizing in her statement what she cast as Wright’s key role in a deliberately planned murder. Jackson asked Tatti to send her to prison with a life sentence.
“It doesn’t take a fully developed mind to understand right from wrong,” Jackson said. “A 2-year-old learns that hurting others is not acceptable in our society.”
Turning to face Wright, Jackson also echoed words she read at Wright’s original sentencing: “Amber, we hope that guilt eats you inside and out knowing that you caused all this,” she said. “You fed into Bargo’s deranged desires with your lies. All this happened because of you.”
Although Bargo is said to have been the gunman, and is currently serving the most severe sentence, on death row, prosecutors emphasized at trial that Wright’s text messages lured Seath to the home that night. In an interview recorded at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office before her arrest, which the jury heard at trial, Wright said Bargo had pressured her to contact Seath.
Family members and prison ministers who spoke in Amber Wright’s defense acknowledged the Jackson family’s pain, but emphasized that Wright had grown and matured in the five years since Seath’s murder.
“I just hope and pray that you can make the right decision and give her a chance to be the person she could be,” Wright’s mother told Tatti tearfully.
She and two prison ministers said they have already seen changes in Wright since her incarceration, noting that she has since earned her GED and built positive relationships with other inmates.
Amber, who had not spoken at her trial in January, asked Tatti to recognize that she is not the same person she was five years ago. She said she feels guilty and remorseful, and that she finds it difficult to forgive herself, but said she is trying to be a better person.
“I’m not going to say a wonderful person,” she said. “I’m not. I make mistakes. I still do. I just hope one day I’ll be allowed to have that chance to prove myself.
“Not just to you,” she added, “or to anybody else, but to myself as well.”
The current statute on sentencing for defendants who commit serious crimes as children came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which came down in the weeks before Amber Wright’s trial and sentencing in 2012 and found that mandatory life sentences for juvenile defendants are unconstitutional.
Because Amber and her brother, Kyle Hooper, who was 16-years-old at the time of the murder, were sentenced to life without parole as a mandatory sentence, Hooper has been granted a re-sentencing on appeal. Wright, too, would have received a new sentencing on the same basis had she not been granted a new trial altogether.
The current statute, though, leaves open the possibility of a life sentence for juveniles in cases where a judge finds an intent to kill and considers several additional factors laid out in the statute. Among those factors are the defendant’s age, maturity and intellectual capacity, and the effect of peer pressure on the defendants.
Prosecutors and Junior Barrett, Wright’s attorney, interpreted the factors differently in Wright’s case, with Barrett emphasizing Wright’s age and Berndt emphasizing the gruesome circumstances of the murder.
After hearing all the arguments, Tatti, who said he had never sentenced anyone to life in prison in five years as a judge and did not take the responsibility lightly, sentenced Amber Wright to life in prison with a review after 25 years.
“I hope that what’s responsible for that is some lack of development in your brain, something that you can grow out of,” he told Amber Wright. “That would give me some hope.”
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Amber Wright is currently incarcerated at the Homestead Correctional Institute in Florida
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Amber Wright was convicted in the murder of Seath Jackson in Florida
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Amber Wright is serving a life without parole sentence
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