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SCOTUS could help Cash Feenz 'killer' get new hearing

Judge just denied appeal to lower Toye's sentence
Posted at 10:03 PM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 14:42:00-04

LEE COUNTY - Fighting for freedom. One of the teens convicted in Southwest Florida's notorious “Cash Feenz” gang murder case is again pushing to get out prison early.

Ashley Toye’s attorney says this time she has the best chance yet to avoid serving her life sentence.

A judge recently issuing a ruling on her case and Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason is finding out what that means for her sentence

The case of Ashley Toye has been a roller coaster, she thought her life sentence would be reduced several times but she kept striking out.

Toye’s attorney, Stuart Pepper, says, "She should be given a second chance and have her sentence reduced."

Pepper represents 27 year old Toye. She was convicted of the 2006 double murder of two teens: Alexis Sosa and his nephew Jeffery Sosa.

Since Mason interviewed Toye in prison four years ago, legal debates have raised questions about whether Toye, who was 17 and pregnant at the time of her conviction, was punished too severely.

That issue, however, has been overshadowed by the brutal murders of the Sosas.

Both of the teenagers were tortured for hours, including being hogtied, held at gunpoint, tazered and the ringleader, Toye’s boyfriend, ordered her to slice Jeffrey Sosa's back with a knife.

She told me more about that when we spoke in 2012.

Toye says, "He ordered everybody to do something ‘cause he wasn't going to be the only one going down for it. That's when the knife got passed to me and I cut it into Jeffrey."

It wasn't just cutting. Someone poured bleach into the teens' wounds before they were driven to another part of Cape Coral. They were then shot to death in their car and their bodies were burned,

Since Toye didn't pull the trigger she told Mason she should be shown mercy.

When asked why she should be let out of prison Toye replied, "I'm not a menace to society, I'm not a monster like everybody says. I admit I made a mistake, you know, I learned from it."

Pepper tells us, "The mistake she made was the one thing she did to the one victim and carved into his back, that's all she did that night."

Pepper says 7 out of 10 of the people charged with the "Cash Feenz" murders struck a plea deal but Toye rolled the dice with a jury and lost.

Last year, Florida adopted a United States Supreme Court ruling that said juveniles sentenced to life in prison deserve new hearings that could reduce their sentences, especially if they're weren't directly involved in the murder.

Pepper says, "The Supreme Court of the United States said that a juvenile mind is physiologically different than an adult mind, the judgment is affected."

Pepper then quickly filed an appeal with local judge Bruce Kyle. Pepper stated, at that point, even the prosecutor said she would not fight the high court's ruling.

Pepper tells us, "So that means she agreed with us that her sentence should be lowered from life without parole to 30 years, which the judge could have done if he wanted to…the judge didn't, ‘cause he has the power to say no, that's why."

Judge Kyle denied Toye's appeal two weeks ago.  Her attorney now plans to appeal that ruling and get another hearing.

He also plans to push for a different judge.

In the meantime, as she told me when i spoke to her in 2012, Toye has plenty of time to think about those young lives that were stolen that night 10 years ago..

Toye told us, "It's serious to me it's a big thing…I can't imagine. I put myself in their shoes every day."

Toye's attorney tells me she is now extremely depressed and is losing hope.

She does have a worldwide support system; people who write her letters and send her money for basic prison supplies.

Meanwhile, her son; who was essentially born in prison; is now nine years old.