US man convicted of murder at age 12, freed 16 years on

2015-07-29 12:17

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Orlando - A Florida man who was called the nation's youngest convicted murderer at age 12 walked out of prison on Tuesday morning after serving almost 16 years behind bars.

Curtis Jones, 29, completed his sentence at the medium security South Bay Correctional Institution in South Florida, according to records in the state Department of Corrections.

Jones was convicted in 1999 of second-degree murder in Brevard County and sentenced to 18 years in the shooting of his father's girlfriend, Sonya Speight.

He and his older sister, Catherine, who also was convicted, claimed they had been sexually abused by a male relative in the house. But they were not believed even after child welfare investigators found evidence of abuse, the local Florida Today newspaper reported.

The two children intended to also kill their father and the male relative but panicked.

The newspaper said Jones became the nation's youngest convicted murderer when he and Catherine entered guilty pleas in a deal to spare them potential life sentences.

Catherine Jones, now 30, is set to be released on Saturday from the female annex of Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, according to state prison records.

Jones' lawyer, Alan Landman of Melbourne, did not immediately return a call for comment. He previously told the local Florida Today newspaper that neither he nor Curtis Jones would make a statement.

State records indicate Jones planned upon release to move to an apartment in Titusville. Florida Today reported that he has become an ordained minister.

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