NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A jury has found Travis Reinking guilty on all counts. The verdict came down late Friday afternoon.
Earlier, the fifth day of the trial saw both sides presenting their closing arguments.
Travis Reinking was accused of walking into a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, Tennessee, in 2018, and opening fire on the patrons, killing four of them. James Shaw Jr. tackled Reinking while reloading his rifle and stopped the shooting.
Since Reinking pleaded insanity, if the jury agrees, he will be committed to a mental health facility and then it will be up to the professionals there to decide if and when he’s released back into society.
District Attorney Glenn Funk told News 4 on Friday morning “that’s the scary part.” If convicted, he faces a minimum 51-year prison sentence.
In closing arguments, the prosecution maintained Reinking methodically and intentionally planned and carried out a mass shooting, fully understanding that it was wrong.
“How it is a man who has spent so much time writing and thinking about mass murder needs a command from God,” Assistant DA Ronald Dowdy said.
Deputy District Attorney Roger Moore began by addressing the jury, reminding them that everyone in Tennessee will forever associate a Waffle House with this tragedy.
“I can’t imagine you won’t drive past a Waffle House, see one, and this case won’t come into your mind,” Moore told the jury. “Every step that this man took was intentional. Every step. This was no accident. This was no mistake. He intended to do exactly what he did.”
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The prosecution’s goal for the first four days of this trial has been to convince the jury that Reinking clearly thought out this act and knew what he was doing the entire time.
“He knew he was killing people,” Moore repeated to the jury during his closing argument. “There’s no question about that. He knew. He knew when he put the plan in motion to get the revenge, he was going to kill people.”
Moore concluded his argument by filling a glass bowl with ammunition, representing unused shells from the Waffle House scene.
“What a great choice that James Shaw Jr. made to fight him,” Moore told the jury in conclusion. “To take the rifle away, these went unused. Lives saved, this man committed murder. He is not legally blameless.”
James Shaw Jr., the man hailed as a hero the night four people were killed inside a Waffle House in Antioch, testified on the first day of Travis Reinking’s trial.
As the defense began their presentation to the jury, Joe Perez’s father stood up. Then, he left the courtroom, refusing to listen to what Reinking’s lawyer had to say in his defense of him. Perez was one of the four people killed in the Waffle House that day.
Reinking’s defense attorneys argued his schizophrenia-induced delusions drove him to commit the shooting and that he did not understand what he was doing was wrong.
“He acted one what he believed to be a command from God,” Reinking’s defense attorney Paul Bruno said. “You can have sympathy. We all sympathize. You can’t come up with a verdict based on that.”
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Perez’s mother started crying as the defense showed a photo of her son’s clothes when he was killed. She eventually left the courtroom, too emotional to watch anymore.
The defense continued to cite mental health doctors whose opinions were that Reinking could not recognize the wrong in what he did.
Additionally, Evans stated that a verdict on this could not be reached based on the emotions involved.
“There’s not a person in this room that does not have sympathy,” Evans concluded to the jury. “These victims and their families suffered and are continuing to suffer…you can have sympathy…you can’t come up with a verdict based on that.”
Thursday marked the fourth day of the trial for the man who has been accused of opening fire in an Antioch Waffle House, killing four people in 2018.
The jury’s job her is not to decide whether or not Reinking did this deadly shooting, just whether or not he understood it was wrong at the time of the shooting.
Aakilah Dasilva’s mother told News 4 on Thursday that she does not believe Reinking acted on any kind of perceived command from God. And they feel he belongs ‘where other people who commit these types of crimes go.’
News 4 had a conversation with Reinking’s mother on Friday afternoon. She said he was a normal, loving child and that regardless of the outcome, this was never the life she imagined for her child.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism