ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Convicted murderer Bessman Okafor is waiting to hear whether he will be sent to death row. Testimony in his sentencing for the murder of Alex Zaldivar continued on Monday.
Okafor's defense team is trying to keep him alive by trotting out clinical psychologist Dr. Stephen Gold to tell the jury Okafor's traumatic history could explain the convicted murderer's violent past. Dr. Gold testified that Okafor has long-term emotional problems caused by a history of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and neglect, testifying that that history may have caused him to shoot three people, killing the teen.
"Mr. Okafor has an impaired ability to restrain his impulses, he has a heightened likelihood of acting aggressively, he has an impaired ability to think things through,” Dr. Gold said.
The state isn’t buying it, pointing out that assessment is based on Okafor's childhood records. Zaldivar’s father Rafael agreed, telling FOX 35, "He was credible up until 10th grade. Ok fine, what happened after that? He learned how to read, he learned how to write, he got a job, he got a car, he committed robberies, he went to prison, and he knows the system better than we do."
Zaldivar has spent years hoping for the day when a jury sentences his teenage son's killer to death. "The last person he's going to see is me,” Zaldivar said, “When he's executed it's going to be me, that's what he's going to remember."
That decision is still up to the panel of 12 that found Okafor guilty of the calculated murder of Alex Zaldivar and shooting of two other people to prevent them from testifying against him in a home invasion trial.
The jury was sent home at lunchtime and told to come back Tuesday morning with their suitcases to decide whether Okafor will be sentenced to death.