NEW CHURCH, Va. (Delmarva Now) -- A New Church, Virginia, man was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the December 2016 “drug cartel-style” murder of a Pocomoke City man, the Worcester County State’s Attorney said.
Anthony Tunnell, 36, had been found guilty in August of first-degree murder for his role in the Dec. 1, 2016, shooting of James Allen II, 26, of Pocomoke City after a two-day jury trial.
Allen was shot once in the back before he collapsed in downtown Pocomoke, the state's attorney's office said during the trial, and evidence from the scene, including spent shell casings and a ski mask, showed the murder was premeditated.
Tunnell was arrested at a Salisbury hotel Dec. 11, 2016 in connection with the shooting.
Before the trial, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Worcester County had said it intended to seek life without the possibility of parole.
During sentencing on Dec. 1, Deputy State’s Attorney Bill McDermott asked the court that Tunnell be sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed under Maryland law, according to a news release from the state's attorney's office.
BACKGROUND: Man guilty in 'calculated, premeditated, cold blood' shooting in downtown Pocomoke
“Tunnell planned, orchestrated and successfully effectuated a calculated, cold blooded drug cartel style assassination because he believed someone stole his marijuana supply,” McDermott told the court.
“Mr. Tunnell decided to be judge, jury and executioner, and as certain as James Allen will never breathe again, a sentence of life without the possibility of parole will ensure that Anthony Tunnell never harm another person in our community.”
Before announcing the sentence, Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Richard R. Bloxom said that on Dec. 1, 2016, Tunnell entered Worcester County with the intent “to assassinate James Allen.”
The judge noted that one of the purposes of sentencing is to protect the community from people like Anthony Tunnell and that the sentence of life without the possibility of parole would accomplish that purpose.
Tunnell's prior felonies include weapons offenses, drug distributions and federal convictions.