JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man convicted in the 2006 shooting death of a teen co-worker at a Regency restaurant will be sentenced for a third time following an appeal that was upheld.
Kyle Bass, 27, was found guilty of second-degree murder for killing 18-year-old Martaze Harris (pictured below) while both were working at La Salsa Mexican Restaurant, shooting him in the head.
There was never any clear understanding of why he did it, just that there was some kind of dispute between the two.
Bass was sentenced to life in prison, but the conviction was thrown out in 2009 because of faulty jury instructions.
Bass was retried in 2012 with the same result: life in prison with a 25-year minimum-mandatory sentence.
There was another appeal and a post-conviction motion to reduce the sentence to life with a 20-year minimum-mandatory sentence. The judge granted the motion and had 60 days to grant the order to change Bass' sentence, but for unknown reasons, the judge's office failed to meet that deadline.
The appellate court has upheld the murder conviction, but because the trial judge didn't act on the motion, it has thrown out the entire sentence and remanded Bass back for what will be a third sentencing.
It took the jury in 2007 less than 17 minutes to convict Bass, and Harris' family never imagined that six years later the case would still be open.
"This is emotionally draining to my client to keep having to go through this over and over," said Sean Cronin, Harris' mother's attorney. "And every time there's a hiccup in the system, it just reopens all the wounds, everything anew for her."
Judge William Wilkes, who handled the case, has since retired.
A spokesman for the state attorney's office said, "This is a minor issue, and the conviction still stands. Bass will be resentenced at a later date."
Attorneys say errors like these happen more than people might think, and most of the time it's due to a lack of funding.
Harris' mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against La Salsa and won an undisclosed settlement. The restaurant eventually closed.
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