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Court Tosses Life Sentence In Miami Middle School Murder

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — There is a major development in the case of a South Florida boy brutally murdered at his middle school nine years ago.

Wednesday, an appeals court tossed out the life prison sentence imposed on Michael Hernandez, convicted of killing his friend Jaime Gough in a bathroom at Southwood Middle School when both were 14 years old.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that Hernandez must get a new sentencing hearing because a judge imposed a mandatory life prison term in the case. While Hernandez's appeal was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that mandatory life sentences cannot be imposed on juveniles.

Hernandez was convicted in 2008 for the killing four years earlier of Jaime Gough who was stabbed 42 times. Hernandez confessed to the killing but then mounted an insanity defense that was rejected by jurors.

"Here we go again. We may have to go through this all over this again. This is very frustrating," said Jaime's Father, Jorge Gough.

His mother Maria said, "It's not easy for us, anyway, it's painful."

However, the Gough family says they will trust in God because whatever the judicial system decides to do with their son's killer is out of their hands.

"We thought we would be dealing with this 15 to 20 years from now because they were appealing, but, my goodness, it's just nine years," said Jorge Gough.

Testimony showed Hernandez, now 22, had a hit list that included Gough.

"my fondest hope is that he get a more appropriate sentence and get the help that he needs,"  said his mother, Kathy Hernandez.

But her greatest fear is that won't happen.

"My biggest fear is that he'll get the exact same sentence again," she said.

The Goughs say they will testify at the re-sentencing, if asked.  However, Jorge Gough was quite clear about his opposition to letting their son's killer out on parole.

"What is going to happen if this young man comes out and hurts someone else?" he asked.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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