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Jose Bonilla Pleads No Contest in ZombiCon Shooting That Killed ‘Gentle Giant’


Jose Paul Bonilla, 25, pleaded no contest just ahead of jury selection on Monday. He was going to be on trial for a 2015 shooting that killed Expavious Tyrell Taylor, 20, and injured five other people. Prosecutors offered him a plea deal. He took it, and is set to spend up to 30 years in prison.

Taylor’s sister Amanda Andrews said at the victim impact statements that his death was “devastating.”

“He was a gentle giant,” she said. “He didn’t bother anybody. He just wanted to be successful.”

The judge accepted the plea deal. Bonilla was sentenced to 30 years in prison for count 1: second-degree murder in Taylor’s death. That carries a 25-year minimum mandatory. The judge handed down 20-year sentences for counts 2 through 6: aggravated battery with a firearm. Bonilla received a 15-year sentence for count 7: tampering with evidence. All seven counts run concurrent, so Bonilla is set to spend 30 years in prison.

The survivors been identified as Kaddyami Baruh, 22, Tyree Hunter, 20, Isaiah Knight, 18, David Perez, 22, and Kyle Roberts, 22.

Though he didn’t plead guilty, the defendant did admit in court to opening fire at ZombiCon at Fort Myers. He stopped short of clearly admitting to killing Taylor.

He mentioned vaguely that he had to “protect” himself, but from what, he didn’t specify. He said he didn’t know the survivors at the time of the incident.

[Screengrab via Jose Bonilla]

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