Sentence reversed for child rapist

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.

On Tuesday, the court decided to resentence Tavaria Merritt 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.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2015 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 235493971 -
Gray Television, Inc.