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Court digs into Logan Mott's life on day 1 of his sentencing hearing

The Jacksonville teen had problems with lying and drinking, according to his father and therapist who took the stand Wednesday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For several hours Wednesday, Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson heard details of a notorious crime – and the troubled life of the teen at the center of it. 

Logan Mott, 17, admitted to murdering his grandmother Kristina French and burying her in the backyard of his father’s Neptune Beach home in November 2017.

As part of a plea deal, Mott will serve between 15 and 45 years in prison. Wednesday was the first of several days of a sentencing hearing to determine just how long he will serve. 

Mott entered the fifth-floor courtroom looking thin and pale, and spent much of the day hunched over the defense table – either drawing or writing. The first witness to testify was the lead JSO detective in the case, Neil Chandler.

He said Mott was part of a Communist-focused Instagram chat group in which other teens advised him how to clean the crime scene and dispose of the body.  

"The evidence, to me, suggests that there was a level of premeditation, that her death was violent, it did not have to happen and that there was a great deal to cover up that death," Chandler said. "At the end of the day, I felt that she didn't have to die and that she suddenly got in the way. She got in the way of a teenager wanting to run away -- wanting to leave and ultimately she lost her life."

The afternoon included emotional testimony from Logan Mott’s dad, who is also the son of the victim.

Jacksonville Corrections Lieutenant Eric Mott testified about his toxic relationship with Logan’s mother and how it impacted their son. 

He described a contentious marriage that included allegations of domestic violence multiple child neglect investigations. He says he got the impression from Logan's therapist that he was OK despite the turmoil.

"She didn't really have any big concerns about it and thought most of it was normal behavior of a kid with a nasty divorce," he said. "Honestly, I had concerns but that’s kind of what I wanted to hear. I think everyone wants to hear their kid's OK, there’s nothing major wrong with them." 

Eric Mott also testified about problems Logan Mott had with drinking, lying and a troubled relationship with a girlfriend.

But he said there was never any sign of conflict between Logan and his grandmother. 

"She enjoyed being a grandparent and always kind of being the good person -- just spoiling Logan and she just liked being a grandma," Eric Mott said. "Their relationship was great. It was a completely normal healthy grandson grandmother relationship." 

Logan Mott, who was 15 years old at the time of the crime, is now 17. 

The plea deal he took means he will serve at least 15 years in prison but no more than 45. Court resumes on Thursday at 11 a.m.   



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