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Updated: 04/15/2014 04:37:06PM

Bentley’s shooter gets life behind bars

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Michael Rice enters the courtroom during his first-degree murder trial at the Sarasota County Justice Center.

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SARASOTA COUNTY — It took a 12-member jury over six hours to find Michael W. Rice guilty of the first-degree murder of Philippe Nahon.

Rice, 25, was sentenced to life in prison without parole by 12th Circuit Judge Frederick Mercurio, a decision that brought Nahon’s friends and family to tears Tuesday at the Sarasota County Justice Center. Rice shot Nahon, 48 at the time of his death, in the head at point-blank range on May 26, 2012, after the two men shared a few words at the tiki bar at Bentley’s Hotel in Osprey. It was the first time they had ever met. Attorneys for Rice tried to claim that he was insane at the time of the shooting but the jury did not believe it. Rice suffered from a life time of mental illness, but the jury of six men and six women believed he was of sound mind when he took Nahon’s life. Assistant Public Defender Jerome Meisner said they will file and appeal.

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