Joseph Moody Guilty of First Degree Murder

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PANAMA CITY -- A former Panama City firefighter, who shot and killed his ex-girlfriend last year, will spend the rest of his life in prison. A Bay County jury found Joseph Moody guilty this afternoon of first degree murder in the death of Megan Pettis.

Moody could not convince jurors he was mentally unstable at the time, much to the relief of Pettis' family.

"We the jury find us to the defendant Joseph Moody as follows: The defendant is guilty as charged of first degree murder."

Sounds of relief came from the section of the courtroom, where Megan Pettis' family sat.

Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy said, "To see them have justice in this case is a very satisfying feeling. We're very thankful for the jury."

The jury granted that justice Thursday, when they found 42-year old Joseph Moody guilty for the murder of Pettis, who was his ex-girlfriend.
Moody gunned her down March 19, 2013 in a 23rd Street plaza parking lot, claiming he was distraught, even suicidal after their break-up.

Convicted Murderer Joseph Moody said, "Just thinking about, is this what I want to do? Am I ready to...Am I ready to go?"

The defense tried to support those claims, but the state presented witnesses and evidence painting a picture of a premeditated murder.
In the end, jurors bought the state's version, finding moody guilty of first degree murder.

"In this case you had a parking lot full of eyewitnesses and you had a videotaped confession. Unfortunately, the state of the law in Florida says diminished capacity is not a defense. There were doctors that were willing to come forth that were going to say that Mr. Moody was unable to form premeditated intent from a psychological standpoint. However we respect the law and certainly we respect the verdict,” said Defense Attorney Rusty Shepard.

Before Judge Michael Overstreet sentenced Moody to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, the Pettis' family addressed the court, expressing the extent of their loss.

"Megan was the only grandchild to all of her grandparents for over a decade. She was a sweet funny child who was always smiling. And she loved her family above all. And she went out of her way to spend time with her family, never changed over the years.”

The defense requested Moody be imprisoned in a facility close to Bay County to be near his family.