Hopewell man sentenced to 43 years for murder

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – Rontel Taylor was found guilty of second degree murder and use of a firearm in a Hopewell courtroom today. He was sentenced to 43 years behind bars.

Security was tight as the emotionally charged trial got underway. That increased security was put to use. A brawl broke out between the two sides in the courthouse. Several people on the defendant's side and the victim's side were immediately thrown out of the building. Taylor is charged in death of 30 year old Alfonzo Patillo.

"Oh I'm mad as hell. My whole family is mad," said Kelly Patillo, the victim's sister.

Patillo was shot in the head at A VFW in Hopewell during a super bowl party in 2008.

"He lost his life for nothing. They didn't know him or nothing about my brother," said Patillo.

There's been bad blood between the two families ever since the shooting. Including reported threats on the lives of witnesses.

"A fist fight broke out right away even though we had a lot of security in the room.  We don't want anyone getting out of control and getting hurt," said Sheriff Greg Anderson.

Taylor's mother is one of several people tossed out of court today for causing a disruption.

"I'm just here to support my son that's what I'm supposed to do. Let the trial play out," said Tracey Taylor.

In court, a witness testified an argument over a girl led up to the shooting. Prosecutors asked jurors, in part, to focus on an eyewitness account of the shooting. The defense hammered home the credibility, or lack thereof, of some of those witnesses. Loved ones on both sides say they're looking for one thing.

"The truth. The truth," said Taylor.

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