In Florida, a 20-year-old man has been sentenced to over 40 years in prison for fatally shooting the father of a fellow high school student. The incident occurred four years ago when the man crashed a party at the student’s house.
According to court documents reviewed by Law&Crime, James Z. Powell has been sentenced by Seventh Circuit Judge Raul A. Zambrano to serve 45 years in a state penitentiary for fatally shooting Joel Tatro in the man’s home.
Fifteen-year-old Powell has been found guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated assault by a Volusia County jury in March. Powell was sentenced by Judge Zambrano to decades of incarceration, along with a lifetime of probation.
Initially facing a first-degree attempted murder charge, Powell’s actions left Tatro paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a gunshot wound to the neck.
Tatro passed away in March 2022 due to COVID-19 with complications from a gunshot, as determined by the medical examiner.
As per a probable cause affidavit, a party was hosted by Tatro for his two children and their high school friends on the night of February 16, 2019, at his residence in Oak Hill, located approximately 50 miles northeast of Orlando. According to the police, approximately 20 individuals were present.
On February 17th at around 1 a.m., a dark blue Dodge sedan arrived at the Tatro residence with several individuals on board. According to several witnesses, Powell and two other males, who were recognized from school, exited a vehicle and approached the Tatro residence, as reported to the police. The party was attended by individuals who had not received an invitation.
Powell declined to leave and proceeded to use profanity. According to police, Joel Tatro approached the group and informed Powell that he was trespassing and needed to vacate the premises. According to reports,
Powell allegedly made a threatening statement, saying “You don’t know who you’re fucking with,” before physically pushing Joel Tatro. Tatro then responded by pushing Powell back. According to reports, after being shoved, Powell responded by shouting at Tatro and threatening to kill him.
Powell then proceeded to retrieve a black 9mm handgun from his waistband and aimed it at Tatro, who was standing approximately three feet away, before opening fire.
After being hit in the neck by one of the bullets, Tatro promptly collapsed to the ground. According to at least six witnesses who were reportedly within four feet of Powell or Tatro at the time of the shooting, they claim that he fired three or four shots, as reported by investigators.
Following the shooting incident, Powell and his two male companions promptly returned to their vehicle and made a hasty escape.
According to reports, first responders swiftly arrived at the scene and promptly transported Tatro to Halifax Hospital located in Daytona Beach. As of the latest update, Tatro’s condition is critical.
Powell spoke to the courtroom at the S. James Foxman Justice Center prior to his sentencing and made a plea for mercy. He attempted to attribute Tatro’s death to the pandemic as the primary cause.
According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Powell stated that the situation was not supposed to happen. According to the individual, the cause of death was attributed to COVID-19, sir. The individual stated that they had no intention of causing harm to the other person.
According to reports, Powell’s statements did not sway Judge Zambrano’s perspective on his conduct.
According to reports, the judge stated that individuals possess the right to feel secure within their own residence. According to sources, Mr. Tatro was reportedly inside his residence at the time in question.
According to the speaker, it is the responsibility of the global community to honor individuals’ privacy within their own residences. The statement was made that the action in question was not performed. The reason for not doing that is currently unknown.
The situation was further escalated when the individual armed themselves with a firearm. The user utilized it. The egregious nature of the crime is apparent. According to the speaker, the incident was so severe that it led to the loss of a person’s life.
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