Tampa The man convicted of raping and beating a high school student when he was a teenager himself has been sentenced to life in prison - again.
Kendrick Morris was sentenced to 65 years in prison in 2011 for raping two women, including then teenager Queena Vuong outside the Bloomingdale Library.
But because he was a juvenile when the crimes occurred, he became eligible for resentencing, thanks to changes in federal laws. A Supreme Court ruling doesn't allow anyone under 18 to get life in prison without a sentencing hearing if they didn't commit murder.
Never miss a local story.
On Thursday, the judge in the original sentencing, Judge Chet Thorpe, sentenced Morris to life in prison with a sentencing review in 2031. Morris was 15 when he raped a 62-year-old daycare worker. He was 16 when he brutally attacked and raped Vuong. Morris is now 25.
Thorpse said his decision was based on the "heinous nature of the crimes and is allowed under Supreme Court rule."
Meanwhile, Vuong's family is dealing with what they call Queena's "life sentence."
Vuong remains paralyzed and blind as a result of the 2008 attack. She continues to need round-the-clock medical care.
"To me, he's a murderer," said Queena's mother Vanna Nguyen. "He killed her life."
Nguyen said her daughter received a life sentence and he should too.
"Right now, her life is not my Queena before. Never."
Defense attorneys had argued that Morris has shown remorse and can be rehabilitated.
Supporters of Queena's family were in the courtroom Thursday wearing pink, Queena's favorite color, to show solidarity.