Travis Reinking to serve four life sentences without the possibility of parole
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Travis Reinking was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the first-degree murders of four people inside a Waffle House in April of 2018.
Jurors handed down the penalty for 33-year-old Travis Reinking after hearing nearly two hours of testimony from family members of the four people killed. They sobbed and trembled as they talked about their loved ones and how losing them continues to fracture their lives more than three years later.
Jurors had the option of giving Reinking the chance for parole after serving 51 years in prison.
Travis Reinking was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the first-degree murder of four people inside a Waffle House in April of 2018.
All parties were back in court on Saturday to determine the punishment associated with those four first-degree murder convictions. Sentencing for the other convictions will be dealt with by the court in early May.
The jury heard emotional impact statements from family members of the victims on Saturday. Joe Perez’s father and mother took the stand. His mother struggled through her time, frequently breaking down in tears while describing the loss of her son.
“I’ve always been somebody that they say is unbreakable, because no matter what our family has been through, I will always be the one to bring our family up,” Patricia Perez said through tears about losing her son Joey. “This has broken me.”
Taurean Sanderlin’s aunt followed with memories of her own.
“He not only had a beautiful smile,” she described. “But Taurean had a laughter that when you heard it, you couldn’t help but laughed with him.”
Aakilah DaSilva’s mother gave an emotional account of that day in 2018, when she arrived to the scene at the Waffle House.
“I saw Aakilah’s shoes through the ambulance door and cried out to him,” she described to the jury. “I prayed to God that he would respond.”
She followed by saying, “I didn’t lose my son, Aakilah. He was taken from me.”
The jury was shown photos of the Reinking’s victims at the scene in 2018, during the prosecution’s closing arguments.
Reinking’s family was in court for the hearing. A spokesperson told reporters afterwards the victims’ families are in their prayers.
“Please know that our family has been, and will continue to be in prayer for the families, these beautiful lives lost.”
On Friday, the fifth day of the trial, both sides presented their closing arguments.
Travis Reinking and his defense team defended their not guilty plea on the basis of insanity, given that he is a diagnosed schizophrenic. There was never a question of whether Reinking was the shooter or not, but rather if he, mentally, knew what he did was wrong.
After hearing closing arguments from both sides, the jury decided he did know, and went through with it anyway.
Reinking walked into a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, Tennessee, on April 22, 2018, and opened fire on the patrons, killing four of them. James Shaw Jr. tackled Reinking while he was reloading his rifle and prevented more people from being killed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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