JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Logan Mott, the 15-year-old Neptune Beach boy charged with murder in his grandmother's violent death, said in New York court Friday morning that he would not fight being returned to Florida to face the charge.
That decision means the teen, who is currently housed at a juvenile facility in the Buffalo, New York, area, could return to Florida as soon as 10 days from now to face criminal proceedings.
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"Logan is frightened. He doesn't know what the future holds for him, but again, he's adamant that he had no involvement in his grandmother's death,” Mott's attorney, Dominic Saraceno, said.
Mott's hands were shackled by a chain around his waist as he walked into the courtroom Friday morning and smiled at his lawyer before listening intently and politely answering the judge, "Yes, sir," when asked if he understood he'll be returned to Florida.
The hearing lasted only minutes.
Mott has been in custody since Nov. 24, when he was detained during a traffic stop on a bridge near the Canadian border. He was driving his grandmother's car at the time.
Investigators suspect Mott stabbed and shot Kristina French, then wrapped her body in plastic and tape, buried her in a shallow grave in his yard, and took off in her Dodge Dart, according to his arrest warrant.
Prosecutors said three firearms -- including two service weapons belonging to Mott's father, a law enforcement officer -- and a bloody knife were found in the car.
Saraceno previously expressed reservations about waiving extradition, citing publicity and the frayed relationship between his client's parents.
The teen's mother, Carrie Campbell-Mott, told News4Jax that she is concerned that her ex-husband has a conflict of interest because the victim is his mother. Campbell-Mott lives in Missouri, and her ex-husband has custody of Logan in Florida.
"Mother and father have a bit of a strained relationship, and father wants to hire his own attorney in Jacksonville," Saraceno said. "The problem is that creates conflict issues."
Saraceno said after deciding not to fight extradition to Florida, Mott now has to wait for authorities to come pick him up Monday and bring him back to Duval County.
"I would hope that because his father is a corrections officer with the jail, that Duval County will put him in a facility in another county just to avoid any kind of potential conflicts of interest,” Saraceno said.
The judge got it on the record in court Friday that once Jacksonville authorities pick Mott up, they can only interview him with an attorney present.
Once he's returned, Mott will be arraigned on the murder charge. Saraceno said he will plead not guilty, and then a preliminary hearing will be scheduled.
“He's facing the most serious charge in the code, so he's scared of losing his freedom,” Saraceno said. “He's afraid that his father might be angry with him, because after all, he's accused of killing his grandmother, so he's afraid of a lot of things."
Saraceno would not elaborate on what Mott said about the murder of his grandmother, the weapons in the car or why he drove to Buffalo heading toward Canada.
"I'm sorry, I can't get into the details of our conversations," Saraceno said.
French, 53, was taking care of Mott while his father was on vacation. They were reported missing after Eric Mott returned to find his home ransacked, and several guns and his mother's car gone.
Two days later, police disclosed they had found a woman, later identified as French, concealed in a shallow grave at her son's home, and that her grandson was a person of interest in the case.
Campbell-Mott, who is in New York with her son, said after Friday's hearing that Logan Mott is “a good kid with no previous history of anything.”
“He's my son, and I love him,” she told reporters. “That's all.”
She said Logan has not told her what happened the night his grandmother was killed, and that she doesn't believe he's spoken with his father, either.
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