A man in St. Petersburg was sentenced to death by the division "M" judge after pleaing guilty to two murders per the Tampa Bay times online website.
29-year-old Khadafy Mullens made the gamble of his life...and lost.
Khadafy had previously pled guilty to two charges of first-degree murder, leaving the determination of the sentence to a judge instead of a jury. The shootings of a customer and the owner of Central food mart at 2157 Central Avenue in 2008 was one of the worst crimes this town has seen in years.
In August of 2008 the defendant and a co-suspect walked into the food mart. Waiving a gun, the men demanded money and lottery tickets. A customer was seen by the men dialing a phone and was killed. The convenince store owner was then killed to avoid any witnesses. A final customer, a 69-year-old man was attacked but fought back and lived.
The two defendants thought they had recovered the only surveillance camera in the store. They were wrong. A very high quality video of the crime was captured by a hidden camera.
Khadafy Mullens took the decision of life or death out of the hands of the jury and directly to one Judge. Months after Mr. Mullens pled guilty to murder, he had a sentencing hearing where his lawyer provided mitigating information hoping to spare him from the death penalty. An array of hired experts and doctors went in and out of the courtroom. Judge Federico heard from them all, he heard that the defendant is bipolar, heard about his horrible childhood and numerous other "mitigating" factors.
The Judge carefully considered both the mitigating and the aggravating factors (such as thr brutality of the crime) and made a careful decision, one that he felt was right. No matter ones feelings about the death penalty, all agree that Khadafy will have a lengthy stay on death row, funded by us taxpayers and after the appeals run out, he may be sentenced to death, provided he doesn't die of old age first.