Teenager Sentenced to Over 60 Years for Second-Degree Murder

April 30, 2024 Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

When teenagers get in trouble with a parent, teacher, or other authoritative figure, they are usually given a warning or told what they did was wrong, along with advice on how to handle a similar situation moving forward. When the so-called “trouble” includes a violent act, specifically one that harms or even kills another person, law enforcement and Florida prosecutors do not typically take the same understanding stance.

Juveniles who are accused of violent crimes often result in complex legal cases and court proceedings. In a recent trial over the stabbing of a 14-year-old in 2021, the juvenile defendant was sentenced to more than 60 years in prison. This page will provide the case details along with related information on second-degree murder and the adolescent brain.

Case Details

A 17-year-old charged with the second-degree murder of another teenager has just been sentenced to more than six decades behind bars.

According to the press release by the State Attorney’s 14th Judicial Circuit, Savien Craven had agreed to meet with 14-year-old Jacob Revis and 16-year-old Gage Griner at the Cain-Griffin Park in Lynn Haven on December 5, 2021. The three teenage boys were meeting for an alleged drug deal, where Craven intended to sell a small amount of marijuana to the other two teens.

At the same time, Revis, Griner, and two teenage girls were conspiring to steal the illegal substance from Craven. When Craven met with the two other boys in the park bathroom and they attempted to steal from him, witness testimony showed that “a scuffle broke out during the robbery attempt and one juvenile, who survived, was stabbed multiple times by the defendant in the restroom.”

Revis was then spotted running from the violent scene in the bathroom, but only making it around 110 yards before falling into a ditch, allowing Craven to catch up with him. More witness statements informed law enforcement of the foot chase, seeing Craven on top of Revis inside the ditch, and then making a stabbing motion before getting up, still holding a knife. Revis died from his injuries at the hospital.

In addition to the 16 witnesses called to provide their testimony by State Attorney Peter Overstreet, the prosecution also provided security footage from a nearby security camera to support the State’s case against Craven.

On February 14, 2024, it only took the jury around 25 minutes to find Craven guilty of the second-degree murder of Revis.

The following statement came from Overstreet after the verdict was announced:

“This case shows the abundant dangers involved in the use and purchase of any illegal narcotic. Five families’ lives are changed forever and one life was lost, which is why we continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove illegal drugs from our streets, prosecute those who sell them, and keep them out of the hands of our children.”

On March 21, 2024, Craven was given a sentence of 65 years in prison for the death of Revis. Prior to the sentencing, members of the victim’s family gave statements about their loss.

Crystal Revis, the victim’s mother, addressed that Craven’s demeanor, “was cold and heartless during the trial and even then, you continued to lie.” She continued by claiming that she feels Craven holds no remorse for the murder, and that he deserved the maximum sentence.

At the end of the hearing, Circuit County Judge Dustin Stephenson sentenced Craven to 65 years in prison, along with probation for life.

The three surviving teenagers involved with the planned theft of marijuana will soon face their own trials for their role in Revis’ death. One of the three teens is facing a felony murder charge since he helped form the plan and participated in the robbery that led to Revis’ death.

Florida’s Penalties for Second-Degree Murder

A person can be charged with murder in the second degree when there was no premeditation or planning of such death.

Under Florida Statute Section 782.04, the following two scenarios can result in a person being arrested for second-degree murder:

  1. The unlawful killing of another person, when perpetrated by any act considered imminently dangerous to another person and revealing a depraved mind regardless of human life; or
  2. When another person is killed during the commitment of, or during the attempt to commit any criminal acts constituting felony murder.

Both instances of second-degree murder are charged as a first-degree felony in Florida. If a defendant accused of second-degree murder is convicted, they can be sentenced to up to life in prison, along with life-long probation and fines up to $10,000.

Important: Both instances of second-degree murder are assigned a Level 10 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. That means a judge must sentence the convicted person to a mandatory minimum of 16 ¾ years in prison but can also impose the maximum sentence of life in prison.

Argument Over Teen’s Thinking Abilities

One of the main arguments made by Craven’s defense counsel was that his young age at the time of the offense should be considered a mitigating factor. Defense attorney Waylon Graham asserted so in the following statement:

“Teenagers, they don’t have the thinking ability, the reasoning abilities that we adults do, and they do foolish things. In this particular case, because of his age, I would submit to the court that he [Craven] did not take the time that an adult would take to step back and say wait a minute, wait a minute. This is all a bad idea.”

However, the State argued that given the reason the teens were meeting in the first place, it showed that Craven was aware of his actions. “He knew what he was doing that day, selling marijuana, was something dangerous,” said Overstreet. “He was the only one armed. He had a knife.”

In a previous post we published on the adolescent brain, researcher Dr. James Garbarino claims that brains are not fully developed until the age of 25. Further, Dr. Garbarino pointed to untreated trauma in young children that becomes acted out through the adolescent body.

Despite Dr. Garbarino’s statement addressing the role of trauma as a cause of violence and not just as a consequence of it, teens who are charged with violent crimes are not always given the leniency in terms of their brain development. Instead, Florida takes one of the harshest stances of charging minors as adults.

As outlined by Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida is the state with the most cases of prosecuting children as adults for felony offenses. Florida’s “direct file” law allows prosecutors to push for adult charges (and penalties) for a minor as young as 14-years-old.

To find out more about what experts say about the adolescent brain, refer to our page here.

Why Minors Need a Strong Defense Team to Represent Their Case

When a minor is alleged to have committed an illegal act, there are multiple ways that the legal procedure can occur. It’s worth noting that the juvenile justice process differs from standard criminal court procedures. However, if the minor is accused of a serious criminal offense that results in their direct filing to adult court, they could be faced with the same penalties as someone over 18 charged with a crime. Since these cases are often delicate, you should prioritize seeking out reliable criminal defense for the child’s case.

A minor can also experience penalties outside the statutory recommendation—with a criminal conviction potentially affecting their enrollment in school, scholarship opportunities, job opportunities, and more. If you are the parent of a minor in need of criminal defense, look no further. Pumphrey Law Firm is comprised of defense lawyers with decades of combined experience. We understand how to tackle cases involving juvenile defendants and will do everything we can to fight against a conviction. Contact our office today for a free consultation by calling (850) 681-7777.

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