A Florida teen could be sent away to prison for 40 years after he confessed to shooting and stabbing his grandmother and burying her in a shallow grave.
Logan Mott pleaded guilty last month to the November 2017 slaying of his 53-year-old grandmother, Kristina French, according to Action News Jax. The woman’s remains were found in the backyard of Mott’s father’s Neptune Beach, Florida home.
It was the same day that Mott was caught attempting to cross the Canadian border driving French’s Dodge Dart, which was packed with guns, a bloody knife and ammo, News 4 Jax reported.
French was taking care of her grandson while his father was away on vacation.
She died of fatal gunshot wound to the head with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, according to News 4 Jax, citing a medical examiner’s report. The report also described French suffering various stab wounds on her head, shoulder and both hands.
Mott was 15 at the time.
When Logan’s father, Eric Mott, returned to Neptune Beach on Nov. 22, he told authorities his home was disheveled and several guns, pain medicines and his mother's car were missing, according to an arrest warrant cited by News 4 Jax.
French's debit card was swiped on Thanksgiving at a Pennsylvania ATM and investigators claim Mott appeared on surveillance footage.
He was arrested in upstate New York attempting to cross into Canada. In a dramatic exchange with a border agent, Mott was informed about an arrest warrant and told to keep his hands on the steering wheel.
When the teen appeared to argue, the agent warned him, “Don’t move your hands. I swear to God I will shoot you.”
Mott pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and his fate will be decided by Duval County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Anderson Jr.
So far, the judge has been listening to testimony from authorities, Mott’s parents and his former nurse.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Det. Neil Chandler testified in court that Mott’s actions were calculated because he had become a member of an Instagram group where other teens offered tips on how to clean up a crime scene and hide the body, according to the First Coast News.
"The evidence, to me, suggests that there was a level of premeditation, that her death was violent, it did not have to happen and that there was a great deal to cover up that death," Chandler said.
The detective suspects that Mott was hellbent on running away and that his grandmother died trying to stop him.
"At the end of the day, I felt that she didn't have to die and that she suddenly got in the way. She got in the way of a teenager wanting to run away –– wanting to leave and ultimately she lost her life."
Mott’s father Eric Mott, who is also a Jacksonville Corrections lieutenant, portrayed his son in a sympathetic light.
The boy was struggling with drinking and wrestling with girlfriend problems, Eric Mott said, while also expressing guilt for not doing more to help his son cope with various domestic violence episodes and child neglect.
"Honestly, I had concerns but that’s kind of what I wanted to hear,” he said, according to First Coast News. “I think everyone wants to hear their kid's OK, there’s nothing major wrong with them."
Until the murder, Eric Mott said that he never saw conflict between his son and French.
"She enjoyed being a grandparent and always kind of being the good person -- just spoiling Logan and she just liked being a grandma," Eric Mott said. "Their relationship was great. It was a completely normal, healthy grandson-grandmother relationship."
Mott’s mother also testified and acknowledged the divorce was hard on her son. Since his arrest, she said Mott graduated from high school and was accepted to a correspondence college, according to First Coast News.
Mott’s deep regret was expressed by Barbara Deliphus, who was his middle school nurse who kept tabs on his diabetes.
“If Logan could go back to that second, it never would occur, no, no,” Deliphus testified, according to The Florida Times-Union. “The Logan that I know doesn’t have the capacity to harm anyone. He’s about love and peace and giving.”
She described Mott as “happy, peaceful, joyful” with a “smile that could light the world up” just one week before his grandmother was found murdered, the publication reported.
Mott’s own words were shared in open court when a therapist took the stand to discuss Mott’s trauma and remorse.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Marty Beyer claimed Mott “loved his grandmother” and “he reacted in the moment without using moral thinking at all," First Coast News reported.
When Mott tried to recount killing his grandmother, she said he started sobbing.
"Burying her was the right thing to do, the only thing I could do," the teen told her, according to the doctor's testimony.
He also told her that he burned sage and removed French’s clothes out of respect.
"I put towels on her so she would be covered," Mott said. "I’ll never be able to forgive myself. I killed my own grandmother."
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