PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Citing his long criminal history and apparent inability to become an “honest and useful member of society,” a judge sentenced Daniel Lastarza to 50 years in prison with 40 to serve for the 2014 murder of Jonathan Stack.
In December, a jury acquitted 51-year-old Lastarza of first-degree murder but convicted him of second-degree murder.
In court Friday, Stack’s family members delivered gut-wrenching personal statements asking the court to hand down the maximum sentence.
“I’ll never forget the sight of my brother laying on that stretcher,” Allison Iacone said of the night Lastarza beat her brother with a two-by-four. “I couldn’t even speak, but I only had seconds to tell him how much I love him.”
“Words can’t describe the depth of my pain,” said the victim’s father, Edward Stack. “Your Honor, I don’t want another family to endure the burden. I ask the court for the defendant to receive the maximum sentence the court allows under the law.”
Superior Court Judge Kristin Rodgers said she could have imposed a sentence anywhere between 10 years and life in prison.
“Our system of law does not allow vigilante justice,” she explained. “On the fateful day in question, this defendant was delivering just that to the man who has previously been convicted of assaulting his son.” Rodgers pointed out that Stack served time for that crime, but she said Lastarza still decided to take matters into his own hands.
“He has no inclination or capacity to take his place as an honest and useful member of society,” Rodgers added. “The defendant has little chance of being rehabilitated.”
She ultimately imposed a sentence of 50 years with 40 to serve at the ACI. If he lives long enough to be released, he’ll be on probation for 10 years.
“I’m so relieved with the sentence,” said Stack’s sister, Tina Pollitt. “I would never have wanted to lose my brother, I would give anything to have him back.”
Video surveillance shown during the trial showed Lastarza running into the back parking lot of Federal Hill’s $3 Bar and striking Stack twice with a board. He died in the hospital two days after the assault.
Lastarza testified during the trial he was trying to save the life of his friend, Christopher Tucker, whom Lastarza and his friend Jerri Nassi were fighting. Tucker and Lastarza had scammed Stack’s junk car business earlier in the day.
The jury did not believe Lastarza’s story, agreeing with prosecutors that he murdered Stack.
Lastarza maintained his story when he spoke at his sentencing hearing.
“My intentions were to save a life, and unfortunately in the process of doing so I took a life,” he said. “And I regret that deeply.”
Tina Pollitt did not accept Lastarza’s apology. “He just disgusts me,” she said.