A man has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison after having sex with his girlfriend on a Florida beach.
In May Jose Caballero, 40, and Elissa Alvarez, 21, were convicted of two counts of lewd and lascivious behaviour over a 25 minute romp on a Manatee County beach last year which drew international attention after they were videotaped and then arrested.
At the May trial the jury took only 15 minutes to reach a verdict and the couple’s lawyer, Ronald Kurpiers told TIME the couple were facing a 15-year stretch which he believed was severe.
“It’s a horrifically harsh potential penalty for what they’re alleged to have done and that’s really the rub here,” he said.
According to the Miami Herald witnesses said the incident was seen by a 3-year-old and other children which means the couple were prosecuted more ruthlessly and both Caballero and Alvarez will be required to register as sex offenders.
“Do I believe, personally, that two and a half years is something that he should have to do? The answer is no,” Caballero’s lawyer told The Bradenton Herald.
“I don’t believe that his sex offender registration is applicable with what he’s convicted of.”
Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca told that same newspaper he felt the punishment fit the crime.
“If you think about 2.30 in the afternoon on a crowded beach. It takes a certain type of person to do that in front of children a few feet away,” said Dafonseca.
Alvarez, who was recently sentenced to time served, filed an appeal in her case in June but prosecutors say they were tougher on Caballero because he was in jail on a felony cocaine trafficking charge within the last three years.
Authorities say they pursued the case because they did not want people to think lewd behaviour like this would be tolerated in public.