Convicted 'Cash Feenz' killer wants life sentence overturned
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CAPE CORAL - A major setback for a convicted killer in one of southwest Florida's most infamous murder cases.
The attorney for Ashley Toye isn't giving up after a judge ruled her life sentence will stand.
"Is this an uphill battle for you guys?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"It is at this time," said Toye's attorney Stu Pepper.
Pepper had been hoping to get Toye's sentence reconsidered after the Supreme Court ruled in June that mandatory life sentences without parole for minors are unconstitutional.
Toye, now 23, was 17 and pregnant at the time of the infamous "Cash Feenz" double murders in 2006.
"Do you feel that the punishment in this case fits the crime?," asked Grant.
"No," said Pepper. "Not life in prison with no parole."
It was October 2006 when Toye's boyfriend Kemar Johnston was celebrating his 20th birthday at his Cape Coral home. At some point, Alexis Sosa, 18, and his 14-year-old nephew showed up.
The two teens apparently got into an argument with Johnston and were tied up, beaten and brutally tortured.
Toye says Johnston had her use a knife to carve a symbol into one of the victim's backs. Others at the party poured bleach into their wounds before both boys were eventually shot and killed.
While Toye didn't pull the trigger, she was convicted of felony murder because of her role.
"If you're convicted of first degree murder," said Pepper, "whether you're a juvenile or not you have to be sentenced to life without parole."
But the Supreme Court's ruling found mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. Toye was three weeks shy of her 18th birthday at the time of the murders.
"We were very pleased," said Pepper, "and optimistic" by the ruling.
But the Supreme Court didn't say if their ruling was retroactive. Because of that it's open to interpretation.
A Miami appeals court find it wasn't retroactive. Last week, Toye's request for sentence reduction was denied.
Pepper plans to appeal to the Second District Court of Appeals. If they agree life sentences for minors can be reduced retroactively it would then go to the Florida Supreme Court for a final decision on if Toye can even plead her case, according to Pepper.
"You're going to keep trying?," asked Grant.
"We have to," said Pepper. "Look, what does she have to lose? I hate to put it that way. She's already now life without parole. She can't do worse than what she's doing now."
Pepper wants Toye's sentenced reduced to 25 years.