Teen convicted of nearly killing Tampa transgendered woman gets - WFLA News Channel 8

Teen convicted of nearly killing Tampa transgendered woman gets 25 years

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Prosecutors say Tavares Spencer shot a transgender woman after learning she was a man. Prosecutors say Tavares Spencer shot a transgender woman after learning she was a man.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

A Tampa teenager who attempted to murder a transgender woman was sentenced on Friday.

Prosecutors say Tavares Spencer shot the woman after learning she was a man. Spencer certainly appeared like the young teenager he is when he sat in Judge Battle's courtroom.

He's only 16 and yet he faces a prison sentence that will last longer than he's even been alive.

Tampa police say in April, Spencer was angry when he discovered the woman he was hanging out with was actually a man named Terrence McDonald.

Officers say Spencer lured McDonald into a vacant house and shot him. McDonald said after being shot in the hip, he played dead, watched Spencer run off, got up, but was shot at again.

In October, a jury found him guilty of attempted first degree murder and at his sentencing hearing on Friday, his family stood up for him.

Spencer's grandmother Cora Keaton said, "My grandson has a very good heart. He's funny. He's kindhearted. He has a problem."

Keaton said Spencer never met his dad, and he grew up without a male father figure in his life.

"He's reached out for help, but nobody helped him," she told the judge. "I pray and I ask that you show leniency for my grandson because there is a chance for him. He can be different."

Spencer spoke up too.

"I want to apologize to the victim and the victim's family. And I want to apologize to my family for causing pain," he said.

He said he's grown closer with God.

"I just pray for mercy. I asked God to forgive me and I feel in my heart he forgave me and I just want help," he said. "I know my actions won't go unpunished. I know that. I just feel like I need help. I feel like I need another chance."

But the judge said Spencer has shown a progressive pattern of criminal behavior and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. His mother sobbed loudly after hearing the news.

So now, this young boy is facing a punishment no man would ever care to face. Tavares Spencer's family says the teen never met his father because he has been serving a long prison sentence.

His dad is set to be released from prison next month.

Stay with WFLA.com for more on this story.

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