PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A woman who was found guilty of killing a cab driver when she was 15 will continue to serve her sentence after failing to win an appeal.
Rebecca Falcon murdered cab driver Richard Phillips by shooting him in the back of the head on November 19, 1997. A Bay County jury found Falcon guilty of first-degree murder and she was sentenced to life in prison on May 11, 1999.
In 2012, the Florida Supreme Court remanded the case back to Bay County for an “individualized sentencing hearing” in conformity with United States Supreme Court’s decisions holding that juveniles who are sentenced to life in prison are entitled to present evidence regarding their immaturity and other factors relevant to adolescent behavior.
Circuit Judge Brantley Clark conducted a new sentencing hearing on March 23, 2020, where both the state and the defense presented evidence directed towards Florida’s new juvenile sentencing factors.
“The defendant did not simply participate in the murder of Richard Todd Phillips. She orchestrated it,” Clark wrote. ” She decided that she wanted to rob someone and shoot them in the back of the head.”
Falcon could have received a sentence of “time served”, life in prison, or a term of years short of life.
“I am relieved for the surviving family of Mr. Phillips. Having to relive this experience has been extremely hard on them,” said prosecutor, Bob Sombathy.