A man convicted of having sex on a Florida beach in front of families was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Monday.
Jose Caballero, 40, and Elissa Alvarez, 21, were convicted in May of two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior in a case that drew international attention for the couple's brazen act. They were videotaped having sex on a Manatee County beach last summer in broad daylight. Witnesses testified that a 3-year-old girl saw them.
Caballero told jurors that he and Alvarez were not having sex and that witnesses were mistaken. Jurors listened to graphic testimony from witnesses and saw a video of Alvarez moving on top of Caballero in a sexual manner in the middle of the day while others watched.
"We are grateful that the state has offered 2 1/2 years," said Ronald Kurpiers, defense attorney for Caballero.
He said Caballero planned to appeal his case. Alvarez, who was recently sentenced to time served, filed an appeal in her case in June.
Prosecutors say they were tougher on Caballero because he previously served eight years for cocaine trafficking. Both must now register as sex offenders. The Bradenton Herald reports the jury found them guilty after deliberating only 15 minutes. The couple had faced 15 years in prison.
"If you think about 2:30 in the afternoon on a crowded beach. It takes a certain type of person to do that in front of children a few feet away," said Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca.
Prosecutors said it was important that the community knew what wouldn't be tolerated on public beaches.