Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man sentenced to 15 years in teen's shooting death

TAMPA — Mitch McDonald broke down and cried moments after stepping forward in court Friday to speak about his daughter, Brooke.

A chorus of tears from relatives and friends quickly followed.

"The defendant took my baby girl's life that we all loved so dear," McDonald said. "In my mind, it was definitely not an accident."

Thomas Andrew Grieco said he thought he'd emptied the chamber of a .44-caliber Magnum he had recently bought when he pointed the gun at 17-year-old Brooke McDonald's temple and pulled the trigger inside his Plant City apartment.

She dropped dead instantly.

"No matter what this court does, it cannot bring Brooke back or make me feel any better," Grieco told Brooke's family before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Manuel Lopez sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

"I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry."

Grieco, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by culpable negligence with a weapon. He faced up to 30 years in prison.

"Son, I believe you are sorry. You're probably suffering greatly. I believe that," Lopez told Grieco. "But at the end of the day, you're living and she's not."

Dozens of supporters packed both sides of the courtroom, many having sent letters ahead of time. Some talked about how their spark had been lost since the Oct. 4, 2008, shooting. Others asked the judge to have leniency on Grieco, saying he spent the past year punishing himself.

"I've heard him talk about suicide before because he's so upset about this," Grieco's father, Andrew, told the judge. "I lost my son a year ago. But please don't take him from me."

Plant City police Sgt. James Cross testified that Grieco initially told him that Brooke McDonald had accidentally shot herself. An hour later, when they arrived at the police station, he changed his story and told the truth, Cross said.

"I believe he thought it was an accident," the officer said in court.

"Pointing a firearm that you don't know is loaded at another human being's face, in my opinion, is not an accident," Lopez said.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Man sentenced to 15 years in teen's shooting death 10/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 16, 2009 10:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.