Man who shot teen classmate in 'thrill kill' re-sentenced to life with review

Accomplice in slaying of UCS student Makia Coney also got new sentence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of two teenagers sentenced to life for the murder of a Jacksonville classmate was re-sentenced Wednesday to life with review after 25 years.. 

Charles Southern was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2010 for the murder of 17-year-old University Christian School student Makia Coney. 

But the Supreme Court has since ruled that life sentences for juveniles without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional.

Southern, who was 17 at the time, and fellow UCS student Connor Pridgen both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to life in Coney's murder, which prosecutors characterized as a “thrill kill.” Coney was shot in the head at close range by both teens.

Pridgen, who was 16 at the time, and Southern are two of nearly 600 teenage defendants who received life in prison sentences for murder, but new laws are forcing judges to review their cases, taking into account their youth.

Pridgen was re-sentenced in October under the new guidelines. A judge handed down a life sentence with a review after 25 years. 

Southern's lawyer, Michael Bossen, sought a similar punishment for his client, which was granted.

Bossen said Southern is remorseful and fully understands the consequences of his actions.

He said the state offered Southern a plea deal that would re-sentence him to life in prison with review after 25 years. Southern accepted that, and the judge approved it Wednesday.


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