Court reverses Lebanon youth pastor's 225-year sentence - WSMV Channel 4

Court reverses Lebanon youth pastor's 225-year sentence

Posted: Updated:

By TRAVIS LOLLER
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee's Court of Criminal Appeals has reversed a 225-year sentence for a former youth pastor convicted of raping three boys as a juvenile.

In an opinion filed on Tuesday, the court ordered that Tavaria Merritt be resentenced to 50 years in prison.

Merritt pleaded guilty to raping the boys, ages 10 and 11, while he was serving as a youth pastor at their Lebanon church in 2009. He was 17 years old when he committed the crimes.

On Tuesday, the appeals court ruled that the original sentence was excessive. The court found the trial court judge erred by substituting his own experience for the evidence in the record when determining the damage suffered by the victims.

One of the three appeals judges dissented, saying a 75-year sentence was more appropriate.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Court reverses Lebanon youth pastor's 225-year sentenceMore>>

Powered by WorldNow
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.