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Boy who killed teacher may escape life sentence

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A 14-year-old boy who fatally shot his teacher escaped a mandatory life sentence when he was convicted of second-degree murder, but the battle over his punishment is far from over.

Nathaniel Brazill faces 25 years to life in prison in the killing of Barry Grunow at Lake Worth Middle School on May 26, 2000. He had returned to school after being suspended by a counselor earlier that day for throwing a water balloon. He shot Grunow after the teacher refused to let the then seventh-grader talk to two girls in his class.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled Thursday in front of Circuit Court Judge Richard Wennet, who will weigh the testimony of psychologists and family members about whether the teen can be rehabilitated. Wennet has said he may not hand down the sentence until a few days after the hearing.