Florida Man Gets Life For Mowing Down Vietnam Vet To Feel What It Was Like To Kill Someone_freckle removal for dark skin

Dorian Geiger·3 min read

A “callous” Florida man was dealt a life sentence last week by a circuit judge for intentionally running over a 75-year-old pedestrian, whom he left to die in the street.

Justyn Pennell, 24, will spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole for mowing down 75-year-old grandfather and Vietnam War veteran Michael Pratt with a Chrysler hatchback in January 2020. He’d pleaded no contest to the first-degree premeditated homicide, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.

Pennell, who appeared in an orange corrections jumpsuit, hung his head as Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Mary Handsel delivered the ruling on March 23, according to a Court TV video.

“This is a tragedy that is felt by both families today,” Handsel told Pennell prior to sentencing him. “What you did was a lifetime sentence to yourself, to your mother, to your sister, and to the Pratt family…You chose the option that you chose even though you had other options.”

Pennell was behind the wheel of a PT Cruiser on Jan. 9, 2020, running errands, when he spotted Pratt walking on Aripeka Road near Old Dixie Highway in Aripeka, Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He ultimately turned the car around and accelerated at the 75-year-old, striking him, prosecutors said. Pratt, who unsuccessfully tried to jump out of the vehicle’s path, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pennell dialed 911 after his car broke down about a quarter mile from the scene of the deadly collision and confessed to dispatchers and responding deputies. Under questioning, Pennell told detectives he smiled and laughed when he saw Pratt’s face prior to fatally hitting him with the compact sport utility vehicle.

During a January 2020 press conference, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco described him as “pure evil.”

Prosecutors for the Sixth Judicial Circuit previously indicated they wouldn’t have sought the death penalty against Pennell had the case gone to trial. During his sentencing, the judge also thanked the 24-year-old for sparing Pratt’s family a lengthy trial.


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