Judge sentences Grant Amato to life in prison without parole

Jury took one day in penalty phase to come up with recommendation

By Cathleigh Winningham - Producer, Jerry Askin - Reporter

SANFORD, Fla. - Judge Jessica Recksiedler sentenced a Seminole County man convicted of murdering his parents and brother to life in prison without parole. 

The penalty phase started Monday morning and the jury had a recommendation by 8:20 p.m. the same day.

"We feel that he is going to be a model inmate," Amato's attorney said.

Amato was facing the death penalty, but the jury recommended against it. 

"Saving our clients life that's the so called prize in all of this and finally our heart goes out to Jason Amato. This has to be devastating for him," Amato's attorney said.

On Jul. 31, the jury found Amato guilty of killing his parents and brother during a fight over money that he had sent to a woman he met online. 

Amato cried in court as he heard victim impact statements, including one from his brother, Jason.

"Though they are gone, I want them to know that Chad, Margaret, and Cody were amazing people," Jason Amato said.

Jason Amato became emotional, talking about how tough his life has been since he learned of his family members' deahts. 

"One of the biggest things I miss is being able to talk to my mom. It's been 208 days," he said. 

He also told jurors he still loves his younger brother Grant.

Prosecutors urged jurors to vote for the death penalty, saying the murders of Amato's parents and brother were cold, calculated and premeditated.

The defense argued that Amato should get life in prison without parole since he didn't have a prior record. It said Amato was arrested in 2018 for grand theft, but those charges were later dropped.

Chris Sisco is Cody Amato's co-worker who called 911 when Cody didn't show up to work. Sisco told jurors Cody was a good guy who never deserved to die the way he did.

"There are still days today where we are sitting around and we still say, 'We miss Cody.' We miss the positive attitude that he brought," said Sisco.

Cody's girlfriend, Sloan Young, told the jurors Cody was an amazing person who gave so much.

"He was an incredibly great person, not just to me but all of our friends," Young said. 

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