JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Coast News will be live-streaming the proceedings starting at 11 a.m.
Regardless of what happens next in sentencing, one thing is certain; Logan Mott will serve time for the murder of his grandmother Kristina French.
Mott's sentencing hearing resumed Thursday morning. He's accused of violently stabbing his grandmother, shooting her and burying her in the backyard of his father’s Neptune Beach home.
Thursday's testimony centered around Marty Beyer, a child welfare and juvenile justice consultant who evaluated Mott over a period of days.
She evaluates teens based on at 3 areas: trauma disabilities and immaturity.
Beyer said teen’s brains are fundamentally different, and not fully formed, a fact confirmed by MRI research.
Mott, now 17, pleaded guilty last month to the crime, which took place in November 2017.
The sentencing hearing began Wednesday. The first witness was lead Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Detective Neil Chandler who testified about finding of Kristina French’s body wrapped in duct tape and plastic wrap buried in the backyard of Logan’s father’s home. He said they found a large amount of blood evidence on clothing when they recovered French’s car near the Canadian Border. He said they also recovered a knife, likely bent when Logan Mott stabbed his grandmother in the head.
Chandler testified before the murder French had found Logan intoxicated and passed out in the bathtub and confronted him.
He also testified that Mott participated in a Communist chat page on Instagram. He said the teen communicated with other teens following the murder, as they asked for pictures and advised him on how to clean up and dispose of the body.
In one text, he told a girl he’d shot a female execution-style. In another, he said they should pretend his grandmother had never been born.
Chandler testified, “She didn’t have to die. She got in the way of a teenager wanting to run away wanting to leave and ultimately she lost her life.”
Kristina French’s uncle Henric Horodyskyj also testified. He told Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson, “I am not at the point of forgiving Logan for his act,” but added his wife had forgiven Logan and “I am comfortable that Kristina has forgiven him,” so he asked the judge for the “lightest possible sentence.”
Logan’s therapist Seleina Beenen testified she began seeing the teen following a DCF investigation into the father. She said she counseled Logan’s dad about his style of punishment, including spanking the then 13-year-old, which she felt was too harsh. At one point, she said, Logan’s father “had given all of his possessions away to Goodwill including his Xbox and all of his games.” Beenen said she found that punishment excessive.
Beenen described Logan as “very very very bright,” adding, “he was caring and kind, he had good moral values.”
She said she never saw any signs of violent tendencies.
Wednesday afternoon included emotional testimony from Logan Mott’s dad -- the son of Kristina French.
JSO Corrections Lt. 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," Eric Mott 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 Logan had problems 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, 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. Follow @schindy for instant updates from inside the court.