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225-year sentence cut for former youth pastor

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Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals decided earlier this week to reverse the 225-year sentence given to convicted rapist Tavaria Merritt, calling it “excessive” and instead resentencing him to 50 years in prison.

Merritt, who pleaded guilty, was originally sentenced to nine consecutive terms of 25 years for raping three boys, two of them 11-years-old and one of them 10, while working as a youth minister at a Lebanon church for six months in 2009.

He was 17 at the time of the crimes and 19 when he pleaded guilty.

The presiding judge ruled this week that two consecutive 25-year sentences were “appropriate.”

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rapist, sentence, Tavaria Merritt, youth pastor
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