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Meth dealer in slaying sentenced to 105 years


A 25-year-old Steuben County man was sentenced Friday to 105 years in prison after a jury convicted him last month of murder and other charges

Zao Burrell was convicted of fatally shooting 40-year-old Brent Donbroski after selling him methamphetamine in a mobile home east of Angola last June.

The Steuben Superior Court jury also convicted Burrell of attempted murder for allegedly firing multiple shots at a Steuben County deputy during a car chase that ended in Ohio. Burrell eluded police, bailing out of a still-moving car driven by his father and fleeing into a wooded area.

Also in the car was Michael Forrester, who lived in the home where the shooting took place. Forrester faces charges of dealing methamphetamine and assisting a criminal. Those charges are pending in Steuben Superior Court.

Burrell was picked up the next day in Fort Wayne after police received a tip, but not until after another chase. This time Burrell taken into custody in the parking lot of Scott’s Foods on North Clinton Street.

Some of the other charges Burrell faced, such as felony murder, were combined for sentencing purposes

Judge William Fee sentenced Burrell to 65 years on the murder charge, and another 40 years on the attempted murder charge. He ordered the sentences to be served one after the other.

Steuben County Prosecutor Michael Hess said he was pleased with the sentence.

Fee found nothing in Burrell’s favor when he sentenced him, and counted the fact that Burrell was on probation at the time of the murder charge against him, Hess said.

Those factors added years to Burrell’s sentence.

“I think that under the circumstances of this particular case … that an enhancement was appropriate,” Hess said.