Man’s sentence in killing of pregnant Florida teen depends on whether her body is found

FILE - (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File) (Brennan Linsley, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A 34-year-old man who pleaded guilty to killing a pregnant Florida teenager a decade ago faces a shorter prison sentence if her remains are found before he is sentenced Thursday.

Jacobee Flowers was indicted by a grand jury in 2016 in the death of Morgan Martin, 17, who left her St. Petersburg home in pajamas in 2012, telling her sister she'd be back soon, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

She never returned. About a year later, police reclassified her case from missing persons to a homicide. Martin had said Flowers was the father of her baby.

Authorities believe Martin's remains are in Pike County, Alabama, after Flowers agreed in his plea deal to provide information in exchange for a shorter sentence, the newspaper reported.

But there have be no reports that her remains have been located, even after Flowers was taken to Alabama to assist law enforcement in their search, the Times reported.

He was scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. If the body is not located, Flowers faces 40 years in prison. The shorter sentence is 25 years.

Court records show text messages around the time Martin disappeared showed a strained relationship, with Flowers begging her not to have the baby because it could affect his existing relationship with another woman. At 24, he was also worried about charges for having sex with a minor, officials said.

Martin had chosen Ja'Leah as her baby girl's name, the newspaper reported. She had gone to speak with Flowers the night she disappeared, records show.

Detectives used cellphone tower records to track Flowers’ movements that night. Records show he drove around her home and then went to his home before heading to a restaurant where he worked the closing shift. He visited the mother of two of his children before going back to the restaurant. He then drove throughout Tampa Bay before returning to St. Petersburg.