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‘Zombicon’ shooter sentenced to 30 years in prison

By Staff | Jan 13, 2020

An Immokalee man charged with opening fire at a Fort Myers street fair, injuring five and killing one, has been found guilty.

Jose Raul Bonilla, 24, was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for the murder of 20-year-old Expavious Tyrell Taylor and the shooting of five other people at the “Zombicon” event in Downtown Fort Myers in October 2015.

Bonilla pleaded no contest as part of a plea agreement. The sentence has a 25 year minimum mandatory, meaning he will serve that time at minimum.

“Bonilla opened fire at the street festival with thousands of citizens in attendance. In just seconds, the lives of so many people were changed forever and a young man on a break from college he was attending on a football scholarship lost his life,” a release issued by the State Attorney’s Office states.

“This has been a case unlike any other, due to the many people who were attending the large outdoor Zombicon festival, estimated at 20,000 people, as well as with so many attending wearing zombie costumes. Many were wearing fake blood and carrying fake firearms as part of their costumes. When the shooting started, people ran for cover causing even more chaos at the scene.”

The FBI and the Fort Myers Police Department were the collaborative lead investigatory agencies. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also assisted in this “large, detailed, investigation,” officials said, adding members of the State Attorney’s Office worked with our law enforcement partners to put together the case.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video from cameras and spoke to numerous potential witnesses.

“The dedication to the case and review of the evidence led to the defendant early on, as a suspect,” the release states. “More work by the FBI and Fort Myers Police Department led to Bonilla’s arrest after Bonilla spoke to multiple people about what he had done.”

“I want to thank each of these agencies for the focus they have given and patience, to putting this case together so that it could be prosecuted. Today’s plea agreement alleviates the victims and their families from having to live through the details of this crime again,” said State Attorney Amira Fox.

Fox, Assistant State Attorney Dan Feinberg, and Assistant State Attorney Tyler Lovejoy handled this case.

Source: State Attorney’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit