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Boy, 15, pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2022 stabbing

Manuel Marcos Cardona sentenced to 15 years in prison for crime when he was 14
Manuel Marcos Cardona.jpg
Posted at 11:19 AM, Feb 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-10 13:56:36-05

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — A 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the stabbing death of a 19-year-old man during a birthday party in Lake Worth Beach in 2022.

Manuel Marcos Cardona, of Lake Worth Beach, was 14 years old during the crime on June 18, 2022, but was charged as an adult on Aug. 15, 2022.

Cardona had faced life in prison but in a plea deal, he received a shorter sentence, according to Palm Beach County court records.

Circuit Judge Cymonie Rowe approved the plea deal Thursday.

The victim is not being identified because of Marcy's Law.

According to the arrest report, a fight broke out between two adults during a 5-year-old child's birthday party at a home. The victim stepped in to break it up and other people at the party surrounded him.

The victim was stabbed five times, and the suspect and his parents further beat him, according to the arrest report.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue took him to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where he died the next day.

On June 21, 2022, Cardona and his family attempted to flee to North Carolina, but the Brevard County Sheriff's Office stopped the vehicle there.

He was extradited to Palm Beach County. He initially was housed in the juvenile wing of the jail but later was charged as an adult.