Waffle House shooter gets life in prison without parole


A man who fatally shot four people at a Nashville Waffle home in 2018 received a life sentence without the possibility of parole on Saturday.

Jurors handed the sentence to 33-year-old Travis Reinking after hearing about two hours of testimony from family members of the four killed. They sobbed and trembled as they talked about their loved ones and how their loss continues to tear their lives apart more than three years later. Jurors have the option of giving Reinking the chance to be pardoned after serving a 51-year prison sentence.

Naked for a green jacket, Reinking opened fire inside the restaurant just after 3:20 a.m. on April 22, 2018, killing 29-year-old Taurean Sanderlin; Joey Perez, 20 years old; Akilah Dasilva, 23 years old; and DeEbony Groves, 21. He fled after restaurant patron James Shaw Jr took an assault-style rifle from him, triggering a manhunt.

“I’ve always been the one they said was unbreakable because no matter what our family went through, I’ll always be the one to lift our family up,” said Patricia Perez, in tears about her loss. son Joey. “This broke me down.”

Judges on Friday dismissed Reinking’s insane plea as they convicted him of 16 counts, including four counts of first-degree murder. The trial opened on Monday after jury selection last week. Prosecutors in 2020 said they would not seek the death penalty and would seek cohabitation without pardon.

Reinking’s defense team, which did not present any sentencing witnesses on Saturday, argued for the possibility of pardon, saying he was not mentally tied. Prosecutors argued evidence suggested Reinking planned the attack and wanted to kill everyone at the restaurant.

Prosecutors also turned jurors’ attention back to heartbreaking testimony from family members. Shaundelle Brooks says her son Akilah Dasilva is a talented artist, a brilliant student and a gifted musician who built his own computer to run his music.

“He loves his family, but most of all Akilah wants to live,” Brooks said, crying. “He wants to make a positive change in this world. He shows compassion, not anger. He spreads love, not hate.”

Evidence at trial showed that Reinking suffered from schizophrenia and suffered from delusions for many years, believing that people he did not know were tormenting him. He contacted law enforcement multiple times to report that he was being threatened, stalked and harassed. In July 2017, he was detained by the Secret Service after he ventured unarmed into a restricted area on the White House grounds and asked to meet then-President Donald Trump.

Illinois State Police, where he lived at the time, revoked the Reinking State gun owner’s identification. But that only meant he had to hand over his gun to someone else with valid identification. Reinking gave the gun to his father, who later returned it to his son.

Because law enforcement refuses to take his delusions seriously, Reinking begins to feel that they and other random people are part of a conspiracy against him, psychologists say. learn to testify. Not long before the attack, he believes someone drugged him, broke into his apartment, and raped him. Reinking told psychologists that while he was praying about what to do, he received orders from God to go to the Waffle House and shoot three people.

To prove Reinking not guilty by reason of insanity, defense lawyers not only had to prove that he had a severe mental illness that prevented him from understanding the wrongdoing of his actions.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Reinking was calm and cooperative after his arrest, able to understand and respond to orders. Although Reinking was naked when he walked out of the crime scene, when he was arrested nearly two days later, Reinking was dressed and carrying a backpack filled with water bottles, sunscreen, a pistol, and ammunition. , Bible and some silver bars. And they mentioned that he asked to speak to an attorney after his arrest.

Prosecutors allege that Reinking was acting in retaliation. He noted that days before the shooting happened, Reinking had stolen a BMW from a dealership. Reinking wrote in a magazine about his plans to drive to Colorado, describing a life in which he would hang out with friends, smoke marijuana, hike in the mountains and “appropriate” cars and homes for him. not work, a prosecutor said. .

After the police took back the BMW the next day, he wrote, “This time I will have to punish them by taking away something they could not get back, some of their own lives,” the prosecutor said. speak.

Prosecutors also highlighted Reinking’s own account of the shooting: He said that after killing Perez, “I felt like I was going crazy because this is what God told me to do but it feels like it’s ugly.”

The jury also found Reinking with four counts of willful first-degree murder and four counts of unauthorized use of a firearm while committing or attempting to commit a dangerous felony. In addition to the 4 people he killed, he also fatally wounded Sharita Henderson and Shantia Wagoner. Kayla Shaw and James Shaw Jr., who were not involved, suffered fewer injuries.

Copyright 2022 Fort Myers Broadcasting Company. Copyright Registered. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent. Waffle House shooter gets life in prison without parole


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