The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on July 21, 2020, Judge Brantley Clark, Jr. resentenced Rebecca Lee Falcon to life in prison.
Rebecca Falcon, a fifteen-year old at the time, murdered cab driver Richard Phillips by shooting him in the back of the head on November 19, 1997. A Bay County jury found Falcon guilty of First Degree Murder and she was sentenced to life in prison on May 11, 1999.
In 2012, the Florida Supreme Court remanded the case back to Bay County for an “individualized sentencing hearing” in conformity with United States Supreme Court’s decisions holding that juveniles who are sentenced to life in prison are entitled to present evidence regarding their immaturity and other factors relevant to adolescent behavior. Judge Clark conducted a new sentencing hearing on March 2-3, 2020, where both the state and the defense presented evidence directed towards Florida’s new juvenile sentencing factors.
Falcon could have received a sentence of “time served”, life in prison, or a term of years short of life. Judge Brantley Clark filed a twenty page written order detailing the factors that justified a life sentence for Rebecca Falcon for the pre-meditated murder of Richard Phillips. “I am relieved for the surviving family of Mr. Phillips. Having to relive this experience has been extremely hard on them.” said prosecutor, Bob Sombathy.
Under Florida law, Rebecca Falcon will be entitled to a sentence review fifteen years from the date of her sentence.