20-year-old gets 45 years in prison for murder in 2019 Volusia house party shooting

James Powell convicted of 2nd-degree murder, aggravated battery

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A 20-year-old found guilty in the death of a father after a shooting at a house party in 2019 was sentenced on Friday to 45 years in prison.

James Powell was convicted in March on charges of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. The judge sentenced Powell to 45 years in prison followed by life probation.

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Powell was 15 years old when investigators said he and another teen crashed an Oak Hill house party and were told to leave, with Powell shooting the homeowner — Joel Tatro, 45, who was hosting the party for his high school children — leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Tatro died in March 2022 from COVID-19 with complications from the gunshot, according to the medical examiner.

Prosecutors argued the shooting caused health complications that led to Tatro’s death and upgraded Powell’s charges to first-degree murder.

During the trial, jurors heard from Wyatt Tatro — Joel Tatro’s son — that he knew the shooter from school, reiterating how the now-19-year-old was not invited to the house party.

According to the arrest affidavit, the situation escalated after Tatro told Powell to leave. Investigators said Powell pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Tatro during a scuffle.

Powell faced up to life in prison on both the second-degree murder charge and aggravated battery charge.

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News 6 reported that James Powell is currently 19 years old. He's 20. We regret the error.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.