Home Miniature house Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking sentenced to life without parole

Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking sentenced to life without parole

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Reinking, 33, was found guilty on Friday of 16 counts, including eight first-degree murders.

The defendant, dressed in a light blue shirt, showed no emotion when the jury’s sentence was announced on Saturday afternoon after two hours of victim impact statements.

Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn accepted the sentence on one count of murder. He will decide in May whether the sentences for the remaining counts will be consecutive or concurrent.

The two people shot and killed outside the restaurant in Antioch, southeast of downtown Nashville, were Waffle House employee Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, and customer Joe R. Perez, 20. .

Inside, the shooter killed two other people: Akilah DaSilva, 23, a college student pursuing a career as a music engineer, and DeEbony Groves, 21, a postgraduate social work student who had dated her sisters. of the sorority that night.

Patricia Perez said her son would have turned 24 this year. He had just moved to Nashville to help his brother start a business.

“Our lives have been completely destroyed,” she said, wiping away tears. Victim’s brother closed his business and left Nashville

“It broke me, not just my spirit, not just my family, but also my spirit,” she said, her voice shaking. “It broke me mentally.”

Joe Perez Sr. also fought back tears. He told jurors that the son who brought the victim to Nashville still called him, crying and apologizing.

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Blanche Anderson, Sanderlin’s aunt, said the victim’s parents were too overwhelmed to speak publicly in court. Sanderlin was like a big brother to his son. She was a “sweet soul” who loved to cook and hoped to one day open a restaurant.

William Bryson Murray, Sanderlin’s cousin, lives down the street from Waffle House. On the night of the shooting, he walked into the restaurant and rushed past the yellow police tape, he told jurors. He saw his cousin’s body.

“He didn’t survive,” one of Sanderlin’s colleagues told him. He called his aunt to tell her the news.

Shaundelle Brooks, DaSilva’s mother, said she woke up every day to find her “baby was gone”.

“Every morning before I even get out of bed, I relive that night in my head,” she said.

She went to the Waffle House after the shooting. She recognized her son’s shoes as he lay in an ambulance. She shouted his name three times. He didn’t answer, she said.

His son was an aspiring rapper and “little genius” who built his own computer. She recited a line from one of her songs, titled “Prophet”: “Forget to hashtag, just throw all guns in a trash bag.”

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“My son Akilah was a beautiful soul who perfected how to be a son,” she cried. “My sweet baby, my angel, my son has been deprived of his life.”

Albert Groves said his daughter was born on Father’s Day in 1996.

“I had a double blessing that day,” he said.

He called his daughter “my little mini me”.

“Even his temper was like me,” he said, prompting laughter in the courtroom.

The prosecution sought life without parole, calling Reinking a mass murderer whose bullets still ripped through the lives of victims’ loved ones.

The defense acknowledged the victims’ insurmountable loss. But lawyers urged jurors to set emotions aside and consider serious mental illness and significant delusions that they say left Reinking unable to comprehend the wrongfulness of his actions.

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The jury rejected the option to convict Reinking with the possibility of parole after 51 years in prison.

Reinking arrived at the Waffle House on April 22, 2018, wearing only a green jacket, according to Metro Nashville police.

He got out of his van, brandishing the rifle, and shot and killed two people outside the Waffle House, police said. Reinking then entered the restaurant and continued firing, killing two other people.

The shooting ended when customer James Shaw Jr., who was sitting with a friend at the restaurant counter, snatched the gun from the shooter, who fled on foot.

Reinking had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, CNN affiliate WSMV reported.

In July 2017, according to police, Reinking was arrested by the Secret Service after breaking through a security barrier on the grounds of the White House and asking to meet with then-President Donald Trump.

Reinking told a Secret Service officer at the northeast entrance that he was a “sovereign citizen” who had “the right to inspect the premises”, according to a Metropolitan Police Department incident report.

He was charged with unlawful entry, according to an arrest report, but his charges were dismissed after he completed his community service.

CNN’s Claudia Dominguez, Raja Razek and Giovanna Van Leeuwen contributed to this report.