The youngest of three Broward teens to go to prison for clubbing a homeless man to death saw his life sentence reduced to 40 years Thursday, the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that curbed life imprisonment for juvenile killers.
Thomas Daugherty, 17 at the time of the 2006 slaying and now 23, was the only one of the three attackers to receive a life sentence. Brian Hooks and William “Billy” Ammons are serving 30 and 15 years, respectively.
Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato reduced the sentence she imposed in 2008 after weighing Daugherty’s remorse, commitment to bettering himself, testimony on his broken childhood and words from the dead man’s sister.
“Your story is clearly heartbreaking,” Imperato said. “But we have someone who is dead, someone who was just sleeping on a bench, a homeless person … beaten to death like a dog. I can’t get beyond all that.”
Fueled on drugs and vodka, Daugherty, of Plantation, and friends committed three unprovoked attacks against homeless Fort Lauderdale men in January 2006. Norris Gaynor, 45, died, his skull split open as he slept on a bench.