Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 27, 2013

Best gets four years; judge grants him youthful offender status

Leniency shown to Tyler Best in Tennant murder case

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "I still don't understand, and probably never will, why this happened," Faso said. "And at no point has Tyler Best ever thought of himself as a hero."

Police and prosecutors always maintained that Freeman was the killer of the little girl and that Best's only role in the incident was to help dispose of the body. Investigators said Best led them to Tennant's body after he showed up at police headquarters, appearing shaken and remorseful, on the morning of Aug. 26, 2012.

Reading from a statement, written by his client, Faso told Murphy Best deeply regretted what he did,

"I'd like to extend my deepest apologies," Best wrote. "We all have done things we regret. My role in this tragedy will be the biggest regret of my life. I feel terrible about the role I played and I wish I could take it back."

Asked by Murphy if he had anything else to say, Best replied, "Again, I would like to stress my apologies to the family. This is not something I wanted to come about."

Because of his age at the time of the crime, Faso asked Murphy to find Best to be a youthful offender.

"He has no prior criminal history," Faso said. "He's never done drugs. He's never been in trouble before in his life. I doubt he will ever stand before you or any other court again."

Faso said Best grew up without a father, had drifted away from his family and had became Freeman's "best friend by default." The veteran defense attorney argued that Best should be given a chance to have a life after prison.

Murphy, ultimately, agreed. Over the objections of prosecutors and county probation officials, Murphy declared Best a youthful offender.

"I think it's unlikely you will commit crimes in the future," the judge said.

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