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Volusia County teen found guilty in 2019 fatal shooting of father at child’s birthday party

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A Volusia County teenager was found guilty Friday of shooting a man at his own home back in 2019 because he wasn’t invited to a party the victim was hosting.

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Volusia County deputies were called to the home of then 45-year-old Joel Tatro just after 1 a.m. on the morning of February 17, 2019 for reports of a shooting.

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Tatro had already been airlifted to Halifax Hospital with a gunshot wound to the neck when investigators arrived on scene.

He initially survived the shooting with paralysis from the neck down and ultimately died from his injuries three years later in 2022.

After interviewing witnesses, investigators learned Tatro had been hosting a birthday party for his children and their friends on the night of the shooting when a car carrying then 15-year-old James Zyquis Powell pulled into the driveway.

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Witnesses said Tatro told Powell and his friends they were trespassing and had to leave because the party was by invitation only.

Investigators say the confrontation escalated until Powell shoved Tatro, who then shoved him back. In response to being shoved, deputies say Powell threatened to kill Tatro then pulled a gun from his waistband and fired at Tatro from close range.

After a four-day trial, a Volusia County jury found Powell, now 19, guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm. He’ll be sentenced at a later date, still to be determined.

READ: Boy, 4, dies after being shot at Kissimmee home

“What was supposed to be a night of fun and celebration turned into this family’s worst nightmare,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a statement about the case. “Joel Tatro lived for almost three years after the senseless shooting - he and his family have been through a living hell. The defendant’s fate should be equally severe.”

The case was tried for the state by Assistant State Attorney Kevin Sullivan.

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