Supreme Court

Suspect in South Florida School Slaying to Receive New Sentence

The man who was convicted as a teenager of stabbing his best friend to death will receive a new sentencing hearing after his life sentence was ruled unconstitutional.

Michael Hernandez smiled at his defense attorney when a judge allowed more time for his re-sentencing on Monday.

"We would like our experts to have an opportunity to listen to those phone calls and review," said Gale Lewis, defense attorney.

Hernandez was convicted of murder as a 14-year-old. A jury found him guilty of killing his friend Jaime Gough in a bathroom at Southwood Middle School.

He was sentenced to life behind bars. But a new Supreme Court ruling says juveniles can't be sentenced automatically to life.

Now 25-year-old Hernandez faces a new sentence, with possibly less time.

"The transcripts of everything are available. The trial transcript was available at the time of the appeal," Prosecutor Gail Levine said.

Attorneys new to the case have to prepare as they would with any other sentencing hearing. Meaning they'll call expert witnesses and take testimony from family members.

"The request for continuance is granted on those dates and will set aside all three of those dates," said Judge John Schlesinger, Miami-Dade Criminal Court.

Hernandez will be back in court on Oct. 14. He could be sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison and anything in between, including the original sentence of life.

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