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Mom sent to prison for role in teen son’s death

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday for her role in the fatal shooting of her 18-year-old son during a dispute with a man over stolen reptiles.

Tiffany Powell was also ordered to discuss the incident with authorities on each anniversary of Ryelee Manete-Powell’s death, WLUK-TV reported.

Manete-Powell was fatally shot in Waupaca, 65 miles west of Green Bay, in October 2020 when confronted with the theft of several reptiles worth nearly $30,000.

A first-degree homicide case is pending against Bill Zelenski, who owned the reptiles. Police said Powell handled a shotgun at one point and was present when her son was killed.

“At no point did you say, ‘Don’t hold that gun on my son. Don’t give me this gun. I’m a convicted felon. I can’t hold onto a gun,'” Judge Vicki Clussman said.

“The only thing you weren’t thinking about was Ryelee,” the judge said.

Powell acknowledged that “irrational decisions” were made.

“I wish I could see him here and ask for forgiveness, but to ask for that would mean I would have to forgive myself,” she said.

Powell was convicted of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and illegally possessing a firearm.

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