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Friday, June 10, 2022

Justyn Pennell: The Recreational Killer

      Justyn Pennell fantasized about how much he wanted to murder a perfect stranger for no reason other than for the pleasure of it. At two-thirty in the afternoon of January 9, 2020 the 21-year-old while driving his Red Chrysler PT Cruiser in Hudson, Florida, a town 40 miles west of Tampa, came upon an opportunity to fulfill his desire to take an innocent person's life.

     The object of Pennell's homicidal obsession was a 75-year-old man carrying a walking stick strolling by himself on a road that didn't have a sidewalk. The Vietnam veteran and Pennell were moving in the same direction with the man on the other side of the road walking toward the oncoming traffic. Pennell made a u-turn, increased his speed, and sped directly at the pedestrian who tried in vain to avoid being run over.

     After plowing into the victim Pennell lost control of the PT Cruiser and slammed into a utility pole. He climbed out of the damaged car unhurt. Several motorists witnessed Justyn Pennell run down the elderly man who lay dead on the road.

     At the scene Justyn Pennell called 911 and to the dispatcher admitted that he had just intentionally crashed his car into a pedestrian for the purpose of killing him. To the police officers who responded to the call, Pennell once again confessed. In relating what happened Justyn Pennell told the officers that when he saw the terrified look on the man's face just before he killed him he laughed.

     On January 10, 2020, a Pasco County prosecutor charged Justyn Pennell with first-degree murder. At his arraignment, Pennell, who didn't have a criminal record, requested the services of a public defender. The magistrate denied him bail.
     In March 2022, after COVID related delays, Justyn Pennell pleaded no contest to first-degree murder. The judge sentenced him to life in prison.

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