Shooter sentenced to life in 'senseless' killing


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Eleanor Adams sat in the witness stand and with a voice that rarely wavered described the loss of her only child.

James Adams, 29, was shot and killed on March 11 at the Fort Pitt Inn.

Chosen for no particular reason, he was one of three people shot that night by David Mazzocco, who had just had a disagreement with his girlfriend.

"Not only did he take our son's life, he shattered ours, as well," Ms. Adams said. "We not only lost our beloved adult son, but also our parenthood."

Mazzocco, 26, was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 21 of first-degree murder, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a firearm without a license.

On Tuesday, Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

Adams, who worked at the bar as a karaoke DJ, texted Joseph Quirk to join him at the bar that night. Mr. Quirk was shot in the head and is blind and partially deaf as a result. Chief deputy trial attorney Dan Fitzsimmons told the judge that Mr. Quirk "suffered grievously."

He also noted that the man had served in the military and did three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Edward Adams, James' dad, said he and his wife have befriended Mr. Quirk and that he has had significant difficulties. His father, who was his primary caretaker, died in January.

"This is an outrageous crime," Mr. Adams said. Judge McDaniel called Mazzocco's actions "excessively senseless and excessively cruel.

"There was no argument. There was no prior bad blood," she said.

The judge ordered Mazzocco to serve an additional 20 to 40 years in prison consecutive to the life sentence.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. First Published February 18, 2014 3:46 PM


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