MILTON — Raymond Romero, who in August 1996 was sentenced to life behind bars, will remain in prison after a judge’s ruling Friday following a resentencing hearing.
On Aug. 14, 1995, Shon Peaden was sleeping in his car in Gulf Breeze when four men attacked him. They beat him 30 times in the head with a hatchet and then slit his throat with a knife, according to reports at the time. His body was dumped in front of one of his assailant’s homes as his killers took his car and headed for Michigan.
Romero, who was 16 at the time, and his brother Thomas Romero, who was 17, were originally sentenced to life without parole after they were convicted of first-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder, reports said.
Jason Hoard, who was 18 when the murder occurred, was also sentenced to life in prison. The fourth suspect, 18-year-old Eliodoro Castanon, pleaded no contest to charges of second-degree murder and robbery and testified against the Romero brothers.
Resentencing hearings for Raymond and Thomas Romero were needed because of changes in Florida law after United States Supreme Court rulings in 2012-14, a news release from the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office said.
“The United States Supreme Court cases of Graham and Miller gave direction to lower trial courts regarding how to handle these cases and required resentencing in this type of juvenile case,” the news release said.
Santa Rosa County Circuit Judge Darlene Dickey sentenced Thomas Romero to two life sentences in January. She imposed the same sentence on Raymond Romero on Friday.