A Lakeland teen charged with killing her newborn son and hiding his body in a box three months ago just got the break of a lifetime.
The 14-year-old was originally charged as an adult and could have faced life in prison. On Wednesday, a judge in Polk County accepted a plea agreement which downgraded the charge to manslaughter and paved the way for her to be sentenced as a juvenile.
The girl, who has a clean record, told detectives she killed the baby so her relationship with her parents would not be ruined. FOX 13 is not using her name to protect her identity.
She was sentenced to a minimum of 18 months in a maximum security juvenile facility. She could be held in the juvenile system until she is 22 years old unless a judge gives the OK for her to be released.
During the hearing, the state made an unusual move and wished her good luck. The defense says that's something that rarely happens.
"So I think the state and the defense, everybody, even the bailiffs, felt like we were doing a good thing," said Howardene Garrett, the girl's defense attorney.
If the teen violates the judges orders after she is released, she could still be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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