Rebecca Falcon was fifteen years old when she fatally shot a man during a robbery. According to court documents Rebecca Falcon and Cliffton Gilchrist planned to rob the cab driver but in the middle of the robbery they panicked and the driver was shot and killed. According to Gilchrist Rebecca had the gun and shot the driver. Due to her age at the time of the murder this teen killer was sentenced to life in prison and Gilcrest received the same sentence
Rebecca Falcon 2020 Information
|Name:||FALCON, REBECCA L|
|Initial Receipt Date:||05/20/1999|
|Current Facility:||FL.WOMENS RECPN.CTR|
|Current Release Date:||SENTENCED TO LIFE|
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Hundreds of people serving life in prison for crimes they committed as teenagers could get a chance at a reduced sentence, after a Florida Supreme Court ruling this month.
The court considered the case of Rebecca Falcon, who was convicted in the shooting death of a Panama City Beach cab driver when she was 15.
Rebecca Falcon’s lawyers say she was abused as a child and started hanging out with the wrong crowd as a teenager in Panama City. One day in 1997, they say Falcon’s boyfriend pushed her to go along with his plan to rob a cab driver. A gun went off in the process, killing 25-year old Richard Phillips.
His daughter, Elizabeth Phillips, says her memories of her dad are hazy. But that November’s events have had a clear effect on her. It’s especially tough, she says, on what would be her dad’s birthday.
“I break down. I just want to curl up in a ball and just be left alone for that day,” Phillips said.
Phillips says Falcon, the girl convicted of her father’s murder, has written letters apologizing. But she’s not sure she forgives her. Now, Falcon’s lawyers are preparing for her new sentencing hearing, where a judge will need to take into account factors including her emotional maturity at the time of the crime. Florida’s mandatory life sentences for teens convicted of murder are no longer constitutional. Phillips says she has mixed feelings about the possibility Rebecca Falcon could go free.
“She did take someone’s life away. He didn’t deserve to have his life taken,” she said. “And another half of me says, ‘She’s been in there since she was 15. She deserves a second chance.'”
Lawyers for juveniles convicted of murder and the state are expected to become quite busy. As many as 300 cases like Rebecca’s, some of them several decades old, are eligible for new sentencing.
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The second and final day of a re-sentencing hearing for Rebecca Falcon is now complete.
Falcon was previously found guilty for shooting and killing 25-year-old Richard Phillips in November of 1997.
She, along with co-defendant Cliffton Gilchrist, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling is giving Falcon a re-sentencing. Gilchrist is not getting the same chance since he was 18 at the time of the murder.
On Tuesday, her lawyers only had one more witness to call to the stand. A former warden and colonel of two facilities Falcon has served time in, Loretta Sink.
Sink shared her interactions with Falcon over the years, starting in the early 2000s.
A stack of certificates of achievements and a GED Falcon had obtained over the years was also submitted into evidence.
Sink says all the programs Falcon completed were voluntary programs inmates have the option to do but must qualify for.
Falcon’s disciplinary report was also discussed. The document outlined every infraction Falcon has had since being in prison in 1999. Sink says all but one of Falcon’s reports took place in the first five years of her incarceration. The last DR ever have been recorded was in 2008.
While it’s never a complete guarantee, Sink says she believes Falcon deserves some kind of chance at a new life and would be the same person she is now if released.
“I really do feel like that she has taken ownership of everything she’s ever done. Regardless of what her long term situation is and that she’s not going to stop being the person she is today. She has come along way,” she said.
Sink was also asked many questions about Falcon’s mental health and counseling she may have received while in prison. Sink says she did not review the medical records before coming in to testify but also wouldn’t have access to some files due to HIPAA laws.
The counsels will now have until May 4 to submit a written final argument to Judge Brantley Clark. Both counsels will have an oral argument day on May 22 and the final sentencing will take place in July.
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