Broward Judge Cuts South Florida Man's Prison Time in Homeless Beatings

Thomas Daugherty's sentence was reduced from life to 40 years

Thursday, Nov 15, 2012  |  Updated 4:01 PM EDT
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A South Florida man's prison sentence has been reduced from life to 40 years in the 2006 fatal beating of a homeless man and attacks on two others.

Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato issued the new sentence Thursday for 23-year-old Thomas Daugherty, who was 17 at the time of the attacks. The decision follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying that young offenders cannot be automatically sentenced to life behind bars.

Prosecutors had originally asked for a 40-year sentence for Daugherty, but Imperato imposed a life sentence, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

On Thursday, the judge rendered her decision after taking into account Daugherty’s remorseful apology, his commitment to bettering himself in prison and hours of testimony about his broken childhood, according to the newspaper.

"Your story is clearly heartbreaking," Imperato said. "But we have someone who is dead, someone who was just sleeping on a bench, a homeless person who was beaten to death like a dog. I can't get beyond all that."

Two other men are serving prison time in the attacks, one of which killed 45-year-old Norris Gaynor as he slept on a park bench. The other two victims survived.

Daugherty was the youngest of the three Broward teens convicted for Gaynor’s death, the Sun Sentinel reported.

One attack was captured on surveillance video that was widely seen around the country.

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