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By Mike Johnson on 2023-10-16 16:20:00

Tammy Sytch's attorneys files the following motion on 10/13 before The Seventh Judicial Curcuit Court, in and for, Volusia County, Florida:


COMES NOW the Defendant, Tamara Lynn Sytch, by and through her undersigned Assistant Public Defender and moves this Honorable Court to grant this motion for the following reasons:

  1. The Defendant in this case is charged with One Count of DUI Manslaughter, One Count of Driving While License Suspended with Death, Four Counts of DUI with Damage to a Person and Two Counts of DUI with Damage to Property.
  2. The Defendant entered a split plea with an open plea on the counts of DUI Manslaughter and Driving While License Suspended with Death and a negotiated plea on the misdemeanor DUI counts whereby they will be disposed of with a time served sentence to run concurrent to each other and to the felony counts.
  3. The Defense submits that Ms. Sytch meets the criteria for a downward departure.

Under Florida's sentencing statutes, "[a] downward departure from the lowest permissible sentence ... is prohibited unless there are circumstances or factors that reasonably justify the downward departure." 921.0026(1), Fla. Stat. (2022). Subsection 921.0026(1) continues by indicating that subsection 921.0026(2) provides a non-exclusive list of mitigating factors. A trial court's decision whether to depart from the guidelines is a two-part process. First, the court must determine whether it can depart, i.e., whether there is a valid legal ground and adequate factual support for that ground in the case pending before it (step I). Legal grounds are set f01th in case law and statute, and facts supporting the ground must be proven by "a preponderance of the evidence.' This aspect of the court's decision to depart is a mixed question of law and fact and will be sustained on review if the court applied the right rule of law and if competent substantial evidence supports its ruling.

Second, where the step I requirements are met, the trial court further must determine whether it should depart, i.e., whether departure is indeed the best sentencing option for the defendant in the pending case. In making this determination (step 2), the court must weigh the totality of the circumstances in the case, including aggravating and mitigating factors. This second aspect of the decision to depart is a judgment call within the sound discretion of the court and will be sustained on review absent an abuse of discretion. Discretion is only abused where no reasonable person would agree with the trial court's decision. Banks v. State 732 So.2d 1065 (Fla. 1999)


The defense intends to present evidence that Ms. Sytch meets the criteria for a downward departure under the following grounds.

921 0026(2)(d) The defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder that is unrelated to substance abuse or addiction or for a physical disability, and the defendant is amenable to treatment.

WHEREFORE, Defendant prays this Honorable Court grant this Motion.


Sytch filed notice of two potential psychiatrists who may testify on her behalf, one based in Texas and the other in Florida.

The 10/13 filing comes in advance of Sytch's scheduled 11/27 sentencing.  

RJ Larizza, Florida State Attorney filed a motion on 10/5, requesting Sytch be sentenced to over 26 years imprisonment.

Should Sytch receive the 26 year sentence, she would be 76 upon release.   Sytch will be sentenced on 11/27 at 9 AM

Sytch entered a plea in August of nolo contendere in Florida related to charges of one count of DUI causing death (DUI Manslaughter, a felony in the third degree), one count of causing death while operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked driver’s license (a felony in the third degree), four counts of DUI causing injury to a person, and three counts of DUI causing damage to property in relation to the March 2022 death of 75-year old Julian Lasseter during a traffic incident in Ormond Beach, Florida.     She had previously pleaded not guilty but that changed today.  Nolo Contendere is a plea by which a defendant accepts conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered but does not admit fault or guilt.  

As part of the plea, all the remaining charges (misdemeanors) against Sytch will have Sytch's time behind bars counted as her sentence for those crimes.  Sytch's sentences will be listed as having been served concurrent to the top charges against her.  Sytch has been incarcerated since May 2022.

The Ormond Beach Police Department's report on the 3/25/22 incident states that Sytch (who did not possess a valid driver's license) was driving southbound on U.S. 1 just north of Granada Boulevard and failed to stop at 8:28 PM EST.  The report cited that two different witnesses to the crash reported Sytch's car traveling at a "high rate of speed" before crashing into Lasseter’s stopped vehicle after Sytch failed to stop.  Lasseter then crashed into a third vehicle.  Lasseter passed away after being rushed to the hospital.  The driver and passengers of the third vehicle were not hospitalized but all complained of neck, back, side and head injuries.   

Back in August 2022, Sytch waived her right to a speedy trial "arising out of the criminal episode made the subject of this prosecution; specifically, the right to be tried within 175 days of her being taken into custody as provided by law and Rule 3.191, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure."  At the time, Sytch was given "criminal indigent status", meaning that since she was without sufficient income to afford a lawyer for her criminal defense.

Prior to her arrest, Sytch publicly disavowed responsibility in the traffic incident that caused the death of Lasseter.  When asked by a fan, "Question For You: How fast were you going when you slammed into the poor old guy stopped at a traffic light and killed him? His life ended for what reason? Were you on your way to a fire? or drunk? or high?"

Sytch responded, “"Hmmmabout 10 since I was slowing down to. Light. But he had a heart. Attack. Nothing to do with my seizure"

After being arrested in Florida, Sytch took to her Facebook account, writing "If ANYONE says ANYTHING negative about me, you will be blocked and NEVER unblocked.  You don't know the real story so don't act like you're some f***ing journalist when all you do is type from your moms basement.  Done."

Sytch was arrested on 5/6/22 and bonded out on $225,500 several days later.  The State of Florida, alleging Sytch was a "menace to the community", filed a motion asking for Sytch to be remanded back to jail without bond as the case moved towards trial.  During a hearing on 5/13/22, officers testified that at the time of the traffic fatality, Sytch's blood alcohol level was three and a half times over the legal limit and that an opened bottle of vodka was found in her vehicle.  The night before Sytch was arrested, she was found intoxicated outside a bar and required to be taken to a hospital.

After Sytch was remanded back to jail in Florida, Pente commented on the court's decision to WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando, stating, "I think that this whole process.  Everybody's been hurt, not just the family...they should have decided she was a threat to society before they granted a $225,000 bond and we pay $22,000."  Pente also told WESH TV that he felt "horrible for that guy's family" in regard to Lasseter but that the court should have made a decision before taking "$22,000 of my money” as the money Pente put up with the bail bondsman was not refundable.

Florida State Attorney R.J. Larizza from the Office of the State Attorney, Florida's 7th Circuit issued the following statement following Sytch's hearing:

"A deadly driver will reside behind bars until her case is resolved.  A serious threat to the driving public has been removed."

Following the 5/31/22 hearing, Pente, spoke with The Daytona Beach News-Journalstating Sytch, "...feels absolutely terrible. I can't emphasize it more. She just feels bad in general.  Everybody's life's ruined."  Pente also told the newspaper he had apologized to the Lasseter/Hill family.

There are several ongoing civil suits against Sytch stemming from the traffic incident as well. 

The crash that led to Lasseter's passing was the most recent incident involving Sytch, who had been previously arrested on 2/24/22, charged with eleven different charges, including Operating under the influence of liquor or drug, Driving after Driver’s License/Registration suspended/revoked, Careless Driving - likely to endanger person or property, Reckless Driving, Failure to wear seat equipment - responsibility of driver, Driving without a license, Failure to possess a driver's license, Failure to possess driving registration, Failure to possess an insurance card, Failure to install interlock or drive a car without an interlock, and Operating a motor vehicle during a license suspension - second violation.  Sytch plead not guilty to all of these charges but the criminal case in Florida led to the New Jersey cases stalling.

Sytch had been previously arrested on 1/13/22 for allegedly threatening to kill an "intimate partner" while raising a pair of scissors "in the air towards the victim" during a domestic dispute.   The police report for Sytch's January arrest stated that she did this in clear view of a police officer who witnessed the incident.  The arrest report also stated that Sytch "appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol" during the altercation.  Her "intimate partner" was not injured.  In that incident, Sytch was charged with two charges of illegally possessing a weapon (the scissors) and one charge of terroristic threats, listed as "occurring during a state of emergency."  She was released from Monmouth County Correctional on 1/14/22 after a hearing where she was ordered to have weekly check-ins with the court and that she not possess any weapons.  

Sytch commented on her January 2022 arrest via her Facebook page, writing, "I am ok.  I am laying low for a bit.  But I'm m ok.  Don't believe the media.  Please don't."  She later made the comment private or deleted it.  There is no word where the New Jersey cases currently stand.

The January arrest had been preceded by additional issues in December 2021 in Florida, where Sytch was on vacation to celebrate her 49th birthday, according to postings on her Facebook page.  After online records indicated she had been arrested in the Sunshine State, Daytona Beach Police confirmed to at the time that their officers indeed had several contacts with Sytch on Saturday 12/18/21, the first being a call related to an alleged domestic violence incident and the second being a check into her well being.   Neither contact resulted in an arrest, but Volusia County Corrections in Florida did, at one point, list Sytch as being booked into their facility on Saturday 12/18 at 11:14 PM Eastern and then being released the following day, Sunday 2/19 at 3:45 PM Eastern.   However, the Daytona Beach Police Department stated to that Sytch was never, ever arrested and that they have no arrest report in their records related to either of the aforementioned contacts.  Within a week of returning to New Jersey in January, Sytch was arrested on 1/13.

The 2022 incidents and arrests have continued a pattern of legal issues for Sytch stemming from numerous arrests over the last decade across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Sytch’s legal issues in Pennsylvania stemmed from four different arrests between 2015 and 2016:

*On 5/30/15, Sytch was stopped by Mahoning Township, PA police after being seen driving erratically into a Wal-Mart parking lot. Testing showed she had a 0.25 percent Blood-Alcohol level at the time of her arrest.

*On 6/1/15, Sytch was pulled over after her car crossed the solid center yellow line several times, then entered oncoming traffic on Interchange Road in Lehighton, PA.  Sytch was unable to provide proof of insurance or a driver’s license and was identified only after authorities checked records.  Trooper Jonathan Lazarchick of the Pennsylvania State Police reported that her eyes were bloodshot and glassy and that Sytch smelled like alcohol.  Authorities discovered an open bottle of Coors Light in the passenger side of the vehicle as well as another eleven unopened.  The open cap of the Coors Light was on the floor of her passenger's side.  Sytch claimed she had been drinking the night before, was driving to pick up milk and eggs and when asked to get out of the vehicle, staggered, had problems with her balance and needed to lean on her car to maintain her balance. Her blood-alcohol content was 0.3 percent.

*On 6/20/15, Sytch crashed her car into a ditch in Towamensing Township at 10:40 PM, claiming to the responding authorities that her GPS had told her to make a "sudden turn", which caused her to turn wide and end up in the ditch.  Sytch told authorities that she was unable to back the car back out.   Cpl. Shawn Noonan of the Pennsylvania State Police observed the odor of alcohol and bloodshot eyes.  He requested Sytch take a field sobriety test, but she claimed to be "in too much pain due to her recently blacking out and falling down the steps."  She was placed under arrest for DUI and was given a breathalyzer test back at police barracks.   The results of that test were 0.078 percent.   This would be the aforementioned arrest where Sytch later claimed she was not arrested due to a "seizure."

On 8/18/16, Judge Matika sentenced Sytch to 97 days in prison, giving her credit for 95 days spent in rehab.  The final 60 days were paid for by World Wrestling Entertainment, who had reversed a previous stance that cut her off from assistance via their Wellness Policy after Sytch criticized the choice of rehab facilities WWE had chosen to send her, on their dime, in a DVD interview.  Sytch was also given two days' credit for two days spent in jail.  In her interview with Apter, Sytch had praised Carbon County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania Judge Joseph T. Matika for being so lenient with her and allowing her to do the time in rehab as opposed to potential jail time.

At the time, Sytch was also sentenced to five years of probation, including a required bi-weekly alcohol testing, 125 hours of community service and $2,100 in fines.  Sytch was released without spending a day in prison but was warned by Judge Matika that if she got into trouble at any point during her five-year probation, there would be consequences.  

Just 18 days into that five year probationary period, Sytch was arrested in Northampton County, PA.  In that case, she plead guilty to driving without a license, driving an unregistered vehicle, operating a vehicle without required financial responsibility (no insurance), displaying plate card in improper vehicle (license plates placed on a car to which they didn't belong), operating a vehicle without valid inspection, and driving without Evidence of an Emission Inspection, which is required in State of PA.   Sytch was also fined $1,496.45 as part of an agreement that saw Prosecutors drop the most severe charge against her, receiving stolen property.  Prosecutors in that case also opted to drop a charge of fraudulent use or removal of registered licensed plates as part of the agreement.

Sytch was rushed from her then-home in Palmerton, PA to Palmerton Hospital on 9/12/16.  That day, she was charged with possession of alcohol as well as being under the influence of alcohol - both of which violated the zero tolerance of her probation. 

On her Facebook page at the time, Sytch referred to her hospitalization as being related to her pancreas.   In Sytch's autobiography A Star Shattered, which was released in February 2016, Sytch wrote that past health issues involving pancreatitis were brought on by her heavy drinking and nearly led to her death in a previous incident.  In the book, Sytch wrote that she had been warned by doctors that if she did not stop, it would lead to her death.

Sytch announced via social media that she had been released from the hospital on 9/20/16.   Police sources in Palmerton, PA later confirmed to that just three days later, 9/23/16, Sytch was once again transported to Palmerton Hospital after authorities were called to her home.   Court records cite that on that date, Sytch was again charged with being under influence of alcohol, a third violation of the zero-tolerance policy of her probation August 2016 probation.    Shortly thereafter, Sytch was taken into custody (apparently from the hospital) and incarcerated at Carbon County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania. 

It was less than six weeks after her five-year probation began.

Sytch remained incarcerated for five months before being paroled in February 2017 after she agreeing to, once again, attend a WWE-financed rehab.  Upon her release, Sytch was ordered to directly report to an in-patient drug rehab located in Hanover, PA, to successfully complete the program and then complete any after-care recommendations.    Sytch was also ordered to report to the Carbon County Probation Office upon completion of the program and to perform an additional 75 hours of community service.  At this point, she was now ordered to perform a total of 200 hours of community service.

According to court records, Sytch was informed at the time of her February 2017 parole that the court would have a "zero-tolerance" threshold for the possession, control and consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or non-prescribed medication and as well as "zero-tolerance" for any missed urine screens without a legitimate excuse.   Sytch was also warned that a failure to adhere to the Judge's order would result in a petition to revoke her parole.   

It appeared to be the beginning of the end of this chapter of Sytch's life. 

It wasn't.  

Just a little over six months later on 8/22/17, a petition was filed requesting that Judge Matika revoke Sytch's parole.  He did.  A bench warrant for Sytch's arrest was issued the following day, but officials had been unable to serve the warrant and apprehend Sytch as she was no longer in Pennsylvania.  

Instead, Sytch was now residing in New Jersey, where the arrests continued.

Sytch was charged with DUI on 1/23/18 at 8:53 PM.  She was later charged with DUI and Leaving the Scene of an Accident following a 2/2/18 incident where she was in a car accident at 8:52 AM, allegedly fleeing the scene of the accident.  When she failed to appear in court to regarding those two DUI arrests, she was arrested in New Jersey again and charged with multiple charges of Contempt - Disobedience/resistance.

While she was being processed for those charged, New Jersey authorities learned that Sytch was a fugitive from justice due to the bench warrant out of her arrest in Pennsylvania stemming from her February 2017 parole being revoked.   At the same time, Sytch had been making independent bookings and autograph signing appearances all over the United States prior, including, incredibly a signing in Philadelphia, PA in January 2018, just a 90 minute drive from Carbon County, where a warrant was out for her arrest.

Sytch was transported back to Carbon County Correctional Facility.  In March 2018, an order was issued by Judge Matika to remove Sytch from Pennsylvania's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program, a pre-trial diversion program for individuals with limited or no prior criminal record who are carefully screened by District Attorney's office for admission.  This was a program designed to be rehabilitative, as opposed to punishing, in its focus towards defendants.

Sytch remained incarcerated at Carbon County until 10/09/18, where she was again released under probation and agreed to the terms of a payment plan towards financial restitution to the State.

Sytch returned to New Jersey, but just a little over four months later, was again arrested.   On Saturday 2/23/19, Sytch was pulled over at 6:30 PM on Dupont Avenue in Seaside Heights.  In that incident, Sytch was arrested for driving while intoxicated, the sixth known time since 2015 Sytch had been arrested for such an offense.  That evening, Sytch was also given a summons for having an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle, for consumption of alcohol in a Motor Vehicle, reckless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, driving with a suspended driver’s license, and careless driving.

Sytch was released by the Seaside Heights Police Department, but was then immediately placed into the custody of the Holmdel Police Department as she now had outstanding warrants and fines in the jurisdictions of the Holmdel, NJ Police Department  ($1,500) and Knowlton, NJ Police Department ($1,000) stemming from her January and February 2018 arrests in the Garden State.  Sytch was now charged with Contempt of court - Disobedience/Resistance of Court Command in relation to each of those warrants.  

Sytch remained incarcerated in Monmouth County Correctional Facility in Freehold, NJ until being transferred back to Pennsylvania on 3/20/19.  This would make the second time in as many years that Sytch was extradited from New Jersey's Monmouth County to Pennsylvania's Carbon Count because Sytch had violated her parole.     

Court records indicated that Sytch had missed a scheduled drug test on 2/11/19 and failed to report as directed to her parole officer.  She had also failed to maintain a stable residence or report her whereabouts.   This triggered a bench warrant for her arrest in Pennsylvania on 2/15/29.  That same day, the Carbon County Probation Department filed a motion to revoke her October 2018 parole, so when she was arrested in New Jersey, she was handed back over to PA, where she remained until she was granted parole again on 2/21/20.

Five months later in New Jersey, Sytch was arrested on the morning of 7/13/20, charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle during a second license suspension, Eluding a Police Officer, and Contempt/Violation of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.   That arrest immediately triggered, yet again, the State of Pennsylvania seeking to revoke her parole.  PA court records indicated that until her 7/13/20 arrest, Sytch had been adhering to her parole requirements, including monthly payments of financial restitution.

With Sytch incarcerated and facing charges in Monmouth County Correctional, Pennsylvania did not move to extradite her for a third time.  Instead, they rescinded the bench warrant on 5/14/21.  Sytch was released on 6/9/21 from Monmouth County, stating the same month that she had resolved all of her legal matters in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  

Sytch's PA case is currently listed as closed.  However, court records in Pennsylvania also indicate that Sytch and her attorney, Brian Gazio, were informed on numerous times that Sytch was overdue on payments owed to the Court.  Last month, The Court "Determined Responsible Participant is Financially Able to Pay Fines/Costs/Restitution."

Sytch has been through several personal and legal issues over the last decade, including a period in 2012 and 2013 where she was arrested five times over the span of a month after she violated an order of protection taken out by a former boyfriend in Connecticut on three separate occasions.  Sytch was also charged with disorderly conduct, third degree burglary, and three counts of violating a protective order.   In that case, Sytch served 114 days in jail before being released, at which point she moved to Pennsylvania.

Sytch was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 and is considered the original "WWE Diva."  She first broke into the business in Smoky Mountain Wrestling in the early 1990s before being signed to WWF as an announcer and later a manager.  She left WWF in 1999 to work for the original ECW and had a run in World Championship Wrestling as well.  At one point, Sytch was the hottest female talent in professional wrestling and was the most downloaded celebrity on AOL back in 1997.    But, that was a lifetime ago.

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