A La Plata County man was formally charged Friday with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in connection with a shooting death that occurred last week southwest of Durango.
Appearing by video conference from jail, Nicolo Tonelli answered, “Yes, your honor,” in response to a series of questions from 6th Judicial District Judge Todd Norvell, who read the charges filed by the District Attorney’s Office.
Tonelli faces one year to 18 months in prison if found guilty of tampering with evidence and 16 to 48 years in prison if found guilty of second-degree murder.
Tonelli, 24, is suspected of shooting and killing his longtime friend, Jamison “Jmoe” McMaster on Nov. 22 at 712 Dream Catcher Lane, in southwest La Plata County.
According to an arrest affidavit, Tonelli and McMaster had a contentious relationship, in which they physically fought on numerous occasions. But on the day of the shooting, Tonelli is suspected of arming himself with a 9mm Glock handgun and shooting McMaster once in the upper torso in the driveway of the residence where they lived, according to the affidavit.
Two witnesses fled the scene. Meanwhile, Tonelli appears to have moved McMaster’s body to a truck and unplugged a digital video recorder that was attached to a security system, according to the affidavit.
Tonelli never called law enforcement.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t notified for more than two hours after the shooting, when a caretaker for the property stopped by and found McMaster lying face-down, dead in a Dodge Durango.
A social media video that McMaster made hours before the shooting shows the tension between friends. In the video, McMaster is seen with a significant cut to his forehead, with dried blood caking down one side of his head.
He explained the gash by telling his viewers that Tonelli smashed him with a rock the previous evening.
“I’ve definitely never, ever hit him first,” McMaster said. “He’s always been the one to hit me first. But I don’t back down worth a (expletive). Yeah, getting hit, that hyped me up. Obviously, when he hit me with a rock, I saw stars, but I didn’t get knocked out.”
Tonelli is being held at the La Plata County Jail on $250,000 bail.