Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Silva, 15, to Spend Life in Prison Victims Say Kids Must Realize Consequences

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Silva, 15, to Spend Life in Prison Victims Say Kids Must Realize Consequences

Article excerpt

PALATKA -- Fifteen-year-old John Silva sat quietly in handcuffs as a Putnam County judge sentenced him yesterday morning to life in prison with no chance of parole for killing his schoolmate and friend, Jerry Lee Alley Jr., last May.

The sentencing went quickly, lasting less than an hour, with brief statements from the Alley family and friends asking Judge Arthur W. Nichols III to set an example for other children and send Silva to prison for life. Silva wasn't old enough to be considered for the death penalty.

"It goes without saying that Jerry was a special boy," said Anne Alley, the 12-year-old's grandmother and adoptive parent with her husband, Marvin. "It goes without saying that our lives are changed forever, with children killing children. We need to make a statement that this is the real world, that if you kill somebody, there are real consequences."

Only Silva's mother, Cynthia Silva, spoke on his behalf.

"I still do not believe that he did this crime," she said. "There was definitely someone else involved. He is extremely immature for his age. He doesn't do things that normal teenagers do. He hasn't even understood most of the process of what is going on here."

Silva, who cried during his trial and conviction last month, showed no emotion yesterday.

His attorney, Putnam County Assistant Public Defender John Stephenson, said he told him that he needed to realize he will most likely go to prison for life.

"That may explain his lack of reaction," Stephenson said.

Although the life sentence was the judge's only option, Cynthia Silva asked that her son be sent to a juvenile facility instead of an adult prison.

Nichols agreed to recommend that Silva be housed in a juvenile facility until he is 21, when he would be transferred to an adult prison. Silva will be taken to a prison reception center in Lake Butler where his final placement will be determined. …

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