Judge refuses to reduce sentence in killing after football game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A judge has refused to shorten the sentence of a Jacksonville man convicted in a fatal beating after the 2005 Georgia-Florida football game.

Jeremy Alan Lane, 24, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of aggravated battery.

He had been charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of Florida student Thomas Brown, 23, of Merritt Island, after an alcohol-fueled, post-game altercation.

An appeals court in May ordered Circuit Judge Jack Schemer to re-sentence Lane because of an error calculating his initial sentence. Schemer could have reduced Lane’s sentence by up to 8 1/2 years.

“I cannot sit here and blame alcohol or anybody else for my actions,” Lane told the judge at the re-sentencing Tuesday. “I made a terrible mistake.”

Schemer ignored Lane’s family’s pleas to shorten his sentence.

Instead, he agreed with Brown’s family, who said the 12-year sentence should stand.

“He beat my son literally to death, spit in his face, and left him … gurgling his own blood,” said Brown’s mother, Kathryn Norwood Brown, “as he ran away laughing with his friends.”

In May, the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld Lane’s conviction, but said Schemer shouldn’t have counted Brown’s death on Lane’s sentencing score sheet because the jury didn’t convict him of murder.

Lane was charged with second-degree murder, but his attorney argued he was guilty only of simple battery.

The jury reached a compromise verdict of aggravated battery. Lane was one of three men convicted in the fatal beating. Mark Tyler Foss, 21, is serving four years for felony battery.

Alex Samuel Canzano, 24, is out of jail after being sentenced to 342 days’ time served for misdemeanor battery.

At their trials, witnesses said Lane and Foss beat Brown, while Canzano stood by to keep Brown from running away.

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 072408

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