OKEECHOBEE — Despite receiving sentences of life in prison in 1986, convicted murderers, Troy Scott and Richard White will soon be free to walk the streets, said Assistant State Attorney Ashley Albright. Because they were juveniles at the time of their convictions, changes in the law require those sentences be set aside.
In November, Scott was sentenced to 65 years and on Dec. 18, White was sentenced to 66 years. When computing gaintime (an inmate’s opportunity to earn a reduction (if eligible) in his/her overall sentence imposed by the court), Albright said both men will be free in approximately five years.
“I think it should have been the original life sentence,” he said, “but I don’t write the laws.”
At the time of their conviction, the men were 17 years old.
Scott and White were convicted of the murder of 87-year-old Valentine Meserve. Meserve’s death was caused by blows to the back of her head, and her home had been broken into and ransacked. Later, Detective Gene O’Neil said Meserve had been beaten to death with a rifle.
Both Scott and White were initially charged with burglary and first degree murder, but the burglary charges were later dropped when the teens entered pleas of no contest to first degree murder. Both were sentenced to life in prison.
Scott is incarcerated in the Hamilton Correctional Institution Annex in Jasper, Fla.
Benefiting from a process called an Interstate Compact, White served the first 15 years of his sentence in the Florida prison system, but was allowed to transfer out of the facility in March of 2000. He is now serving his time at Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon.
Gretl Plessinger, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections said some inmates get the chance to be near family when they serve their sentences, even if the families live out of state, and in the case of White, he has family who lives in that area.
Articles previously written by Charles Murphy and Glen Goodwin contributed to this story.