JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Neptune Beach teen convicted of killing his grandmother during a drunken rage and then burying her body in his father’s yard was sentenced Thursday to prison time.
Logan Mott, 17, was sentenced to 15 years in state custody and 10 years’ probation in the murder of 53-year-old Kristina French. Mott, who received credit for 740 days already served, will serve the first part of his sentence in a juvenile facility and be transferred to prison once he turns 21 years old.
At Thursday’s hearing, Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson said the maximum 40-year sentence sought by the state was too harsh for Mott. He said Mott was drunk and acted “impulsively," adding that the act of violence was not part of a “sinister, sociopathic plot.”
“The tragic murder of Miss French was at the center of a complex confluence of events, an intersection in Mr. Mott’s life at that very moment in time when he killed his grandmother,” Anderson said. “These events would include that Mr. Mott was drunk, Mr. Mott had high blood sugar (and) Mr. Mott was suffering from severe depression.”
The State Attorney’s Office expressed disappointment in the ruling in a statement released to the media.
“We believe the facts and circumstances of this brutal murder warranted the maximum penalty that the State sought under the plea agreement,” the statement said. “However, we respect the Court’s decision.”
Public Defender Charlie Cofer, who represented Mott, said he doesn’t believe the state’s version of events in the case was supported by the evidence prosecutors presented in his client’s court proceedings.
“Logan from the beginning has been willing to accept whatever the court determination was,” Cofer said.
French, who was looking after Mott while his father was on vacation, was found buried in a shallow grave in her son’s backyard Nov. 24, 2017 – the same day Mott was intercepted at the Canadian border with three guns, a bloody knife and his grandmother’s car.
An autopsy found a series of stab wounds to French’s head, shoulders and hands, but it determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound to her head.
Mott pleaded guilty in September to one count of second-degree murder as part of a negotiated plea that carried a sentence ranging from 15 to 40 years. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to waive a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for use of a firearm resulting in death.
During a multi-day sentencing hearing last month, Mott was emotional and expressed remorse for his actions. “This is entirely my fault and, even though I don’t understand why I did this, I will always be more ashamed and sorry for what I’ve done,” he told the court.
Among those called to testify about Mott’s state of mind were a psychologist who suggested childhood trauma, including a diabetes diagnosis at the age of 10, had an impact on the teen’s development and mental health, and a school nurse who noted that Mott’s blood sugar has an influence on his mental state.
His father, Eric Mott, also pleaded for mercy on his son’s behalf.
“My mom loved Logan more than anything and I know she’d want me to get Logan help and help him have a chance, live some kind of productive life,” the elder Mott said. “Locking Logan away for an extended period of time would be like killing my mom all over again.”