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Friday, November 2, 2007

Boy Who Killed a Pedophile Seeks a New Trial

5-17-2005 Florida

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Mark Berrios had dreams of being a fireman, of being a football star, but Mark got into trouble and those dreams would never come true.

"He's missed a lot. He's missed his childhood," says Margaret Loring, Mark's mom.

At 15 years old, Mark walked inside the razor sharp wires of prison. This was his new home and there was no chance of getting out.

"165139--That's me. I'm no longer a name I'm a number, a statistic," says Mark.

To understand why he is behind bars for the rest of his life, we have to start at the boardwalk in Daytona Beach eleven years ago.

"He stopped me and asked me if I needed a ride and I was like I don't think you're going where I need to go."

Mark had run away from home and was trying to get back to Jacksonville.

It was on the boardwalk where, he says, he met a man by the name of Olen Lee Hepler.

"I'm going to Jacksonville and he said get in. He gave me his phone number and said if I ever need anything call him."

Six weeks later, Mark was in trouble again. He'd run away from a detention center and this time he made a phone call.

"I was lost I suppose. I didn't want to go home. So, that was about the only other alternative I could think of. Why didn't you want to go home? Because I ran away scared about what my family would do. I still remember it (phone number) to this day."

Mark says Hepler picked him up in Jacksonville and brought him back to his beach-front home in Daytona. Mark stayed seven days.

"It was a week full of fun. He would take me out shopping to Orlando. I thought it was wonderful. I didn't have to go to school, I didn't have to do anything. All I had to do was sit there and go with him."

Then on Sunday, August 11, 1994, everything changed.

"What happened on that day? We just came back from natural springs in Ocala from swimming. We stopped by and got some alcohol. Over the course of a couple of hours, he made advances to me. 'He had never done that?' No. He called me over to him. He was sitting on the couch. He started asking me how I enjoyed living there. While we were talking, his hand starting going over to my shirt and pulled up my shirt. I moved his hand away and he stuck his hand back inside my shirt inside my pants. I tried to slap his hand away, then he slapped me that's when I grabbed his gun.
'So, you saw the gun and you thought?' I have to get out of here. 'You felt like you couldn't get out of there?' No."

Mark says there were dead-bolts on every door and he felt he couldn't get out without Hepler catching him first.

"Do you remember that moment of picking up the gun and firing it? Yes ma'm, very much so."

Mark shot Hepler in the back of the head. Police called it execution style.

"I ran to the bedroom I was living in and waited cause I didn't know if I'd actually killed him. I didn't hear anything. I grabbed his car keys and went back to Jacksonville."

Little did Mark know, the man he had just killed was a man who was under investigation.

According to court records, police were following Hepler. He was a man they believed was a pedophile preying on young, troubled boys.

Hepler's history would never make its way into the courtroom and it would eventually send a 15 year old to life in prison without parole.

"I just thought it would all work out in the end. I thought if I went up there and told the truth then everything would be o.k. and it wasn't."

Watch First Coast News at 11pm Wednesday for the second part of Mark Berrios' story. Our I-Team will show you evidence that was never used in court. We'll show you why he has new hope for a new trial. ..more.. by Jackelyn Barnard

Teen Says He Did Not Kill Man Whose Card He Used

9-17-1994 Florida:

A Jacksonville youth pleaded not guilty Friday to the August shooting death of an Ormond-by-the-Sea man, who sheltered the boy for a few weeks.Mark Berrios, 15, will be tried as an adult in the shooting death of Olen Lee Hepler Jr., 47, of 7 Neptune Court in Ormond-by-the-Sea. A relative found Hepler Aug. 15 on the sofa with a gunshot wound to the head.Berrios is being held in the Volusia County Branch Jail without bail.Hepler's black S-10 Blazer and a revolver were missing from his home, a police report stated. ..Source..

1 comment:

JD Nix said...

Judge Orders the State to a Hearing over Teen Killer’s Resentencing Request

Marc S. Reiner, Berrios’ attorney, recently received notice that Judge Rowe is ordering the State Attorney’s Office to argue its position in a special hearing on the legal interpretation of the Supreme Court Ruling Miller v. Alabama on November 29th at 3pm.
As it stands, the State claims the ruling is only applicable to current and future minors charged with Life. The State Attorney’s Office moved against Berrios’ attorney’s request for a flat 20 years time served with the possibility for immediate parole. The State validates this with a 3rd District Court of Appeals (DCA) case ruled on last month concerning a minor charged with Life requesting a resentencing. The court ruled Miller v. Alabama could not be used retroactively in the 3rd DCA ‘Geter’ case ruling.
This is an extremely odd case to have had even occur let alone for the State to cite, considering the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Alabama had to rehear Miller’s request for a resentencing because he was a minor when originally charged and thus deserved an opportunity for a resentencing hearing. This makes the foundation of the Supreme Court ruling based on a case clearly being applied to the offender’s past conviction.
Marc S. Reiner, Berrios’ attorney, responded to the State’s interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling with a 4th DCA case also ruled on just last month where the judge ruled the ‘Doughtery’ case was in accordance with Miller v. Alabama and deserved a resentencing hearing. The prevailing factor in the Supreme Court’s ruling was that a minor charged with a Life sentence in actuality serves more time than an adult offender charged with the same sentence.
The Assistant State Attorneys on this case are taking a stance where they must deliberately obscure the very clear and concise language written by the Supreme Court. Miller v. Alabama is not restricted to minors charged with Life before or after the Supreme Court handed down this ruling.
The ruling and its application was founded on the premise that any minor, past or present charged with a Life sentence has the right to a resentencing hearing.
Undeterred Mark Berrios, his family and Mr. Reiner, anticipate the ‘Legal Argument’ hearing on November 29th. Mr. Reiner is confident that his interpretation of the new ruling supersedes that of the State Attorneys’ Office for very obvious reasons. This is a major accomplishment having Judge Rowe order the State Attorneys’ Office to conduct a hearing. Whereas the State did not want a hearing at all let alone a hearing on just its interpretation of the new Supreme Court ruling.
Mr. Reiner will have the opportunity to untangle the confusing position the State has taken on the application of this new ruling. Miller v. Alabama was founded and used in a “retroactive” case. Mr. Reiner will reiterate these points at the hearing. Unfortunately at this time, this is not the resentencing hearing Berrios requested. This is because the State’s position has lengthened the process citing statutory interpretations which have manifested as legal roadblocks.
Judge Rowe is being exceptionally thorough. With hope, this should inhibit future arguments that could further delay Mark Berrios’ request for resentencing hearing. Thank you all again for your time and continued interest devoted to Mark Berrios’ legal battle.

Jennifer Nix