A Covington man indicted for murder and arson pled guilty but mentally ill on Tuesday, receiving a sentence of life in prison plus 25 consecutive years.
Christopher Masiello, 30, was charged with arson in March 2006 and with the murder of his stepfather, Paul Larson, 56, in July 2007. Masiello shot Larson following a domestic dispute, and was reportedly under the influence of alcohol.
Masiello was deemed competent to stand trial, but was found by state doctors to have paranoid schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder at the time of the offenses, leading to the plea of guilty but mentally ill, according to Public Defender Anthony Carter.
In return, the District Attorney's office did not seek the death penalty, said Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon.
With the plea, Masiello can be sent to a state mental hospital if the Georgia Department of Corrections determines it necessary, said Carter.
Masiello received life in prison for the murder charge and 25 consecutive years for other charges including aggravated assault. He was also sentenced to 20 years in prison for the arson charge, to run concurrently with his other sentences.