Bessman Okafor has outburst in court with murder victim’s father

Convicted killer Bessman Okafor was escorted out of a hearing at the
Orange County Courthouse after an outburst involving him and his
victim’s father.

Tensions flared as Okafor squared off against Rafael Zaldivar as the
father of 19-year-old Alex Zaldivar stepped off the witness stand
Tuesday afternoon, pointed at Okafor and said, “You’re dead.”

Okafor did not take that sitting down, jumping up and yelling, swearing
and threatening Zaldivar, wanting to fight. Court officers escorted
Okafor out of the courtroom.

After a brief recess, Okafor told the judge he did not want to be
present during the rest of testimony Tuesday. The judge and both sides
agreed to let Okafor leave the courtroom.

Okafor was convicted in August of killing Zaldivar in 2012 to prevent
him from testifying against him in a home invasion trial. A jury
recommended the death penalty for Okafor, who is scheduled to be
sentenced in November.

Tuesday’s hearing was the second attempt at a Spencer hearing, an
opportunity for the defense to argue why Okafor should not be sentenced
to death.

Last month, Okafor’s attorneys tried to present new testimony and
evidence that wasn’t part of the trial. That caused another delay. The
judge decided to grant an extension for the defense, despite loud
objections from state attorneys.

Okafor remains behind bars serving a life sentence for the home
invasion, about which Zaldivar was originally scheduled to testify
against Okafor.

Zaldivar’s two roommates, who survived the attack, testified in court and asked for Okafor to be sentenced to death.

Okafor’s attorneys, however, argued he should continue to serve his life sentence because of his troubled childhood.

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