Prison: Man Sentenced to Life for Shooting Grocery Store Worker

Anamosa, Iowa – A man who fatally shot a grocery store worker in Monticello has been sentenced to life in prison. Nathan Russell, against the advice of his lawyers, changed his plea to guilty for first-degree murder, following his initial plea of not guilty.

The incident occurred on November 7, 2023, when Russell shot 48-year-old Aaron McAtee outside the Fareway store where McAtee was employed. The combined plea hearing and sentencing included emotional statements from McAtee’s family members, describing the profound impact of the shooting on their lives.

Aimee Jouanne, McAtee’s sister, expressed the profound loss they have experienced, stating, “I feel like I died with Aaron that day. My happiness is at a standstill.” Victim advocate Penny Galvin read letters from McAtee’s family members, with his brother expressing that Russell would now face the consequences of his actions with a life sentence.

McAtee’s mother also shared her sentiments through a letter, highlighting her son’s positive influence on others. Jouanne reflected on the irreplaceable void left by her brother’s absence, stating, “It’s all gone now. All I have are memories, and my heart is broken for good.”

Prior to changing his plea, Russell’s defense planned to argue his intoxication at the time of the shooting. Court records show previous charges against Russell for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and possession of methamphetamine in September 2022. In addition to the life sentence, Russell is obligated to pay $150,000 in restitution to McAtee’s estate.

The sentencing signifies closure for McAtee’s loved ones, providing them with a sense of justice for his untimely death. The impact of this tragedy extends beyond the courtroom, leaving a lasting mark on the community and reiterating the importance of accountability for individuals who commit such heinous acts.