October 12, 2013 Ocoee Florida (WESH) – Bessman Okafor wasn’t being sentenced for murder Friday, but that didn’t stop a grieving mother and father from confronting their son’s suspected killer and passionately pleading for a harsh sentence in a home-invasion that changed their lives forever.
Kyoko Zaldivar tearfully recalled the moment she learned her son was gunned down in his home, the sleepless days that followed, and seeing her 19-year-old son’s body in a casket.
“My sadness never goes away,” she testified Friday. “I will never get through this.”
Authorities said Okafor and Nolan Bernard forced their way into Alex Zaldivar’s Ocoee home in May 2012, holding him and three others at gunpoint while they ransacked the place for electronics.
Four months later, on the eve of that home-invasion trial, detectives say, Okafor and two other men raided the Ocoee home again and shot three people, killing Zaldivar, in a witness-murder plot.
It was a senseless act, Kyoko Zaldivar said. It was an “act of pure evil.”
On Friday, Orange County Circuit Judge John Kest sentenced Okafor, 28, and Bernard, 27, each to life in prison for their roles in the home-invasion. Okafor has not yet gone to trial for the murder.
During the home-invasion trial last month, prosecutors said Okafor and Bernard mistakenly thought there were drugs or money in the Ocoee home.
Despite having the wrong residence, the robbers still tied up Alex Zaldivar, Brienna Campos, Brandon Campos and William Harrington at gunpoint.
Police found Okafor and Bernard soon after the robbery by tracking a stolen iPhone to them.
Jurors heard from police and witnesses during the eight-day trial. Jurors didn’t hear why Zaldivar wasn’t there to testify.
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