ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Two men convicted of a violent Orange County home invasion will never be free again.
On Friday, the judge in the case against Bessman Okafor and Nolan Bernard sentenced them to five life sentences each.
Okafor and Bernard were convicted of armed burglary last month after a home invasion in Ocoee last year that prosecutors said led to a cover-up killing of one of the victims, Alex Zaldivar.
Zaldivar was scheduled to testify about the home invasion the day after he was killed.
Zaldivar's parents and one of the victims testified during the sentencing phase of the trial Friday. All of them said it was cathartic to be able to face the attackers and express their feelings.
Zaldivar's mother says there is a photo the
media usually uses to show him to the public, but she told her son's attackers she has more haunting images of him in her memory now.
"I remember touching his hands, his face, how cold they were. My Alex is gone," Zaldivar's mother, Kyoko Zaldivar, said in court.
She said she felt that her son was with her as she spoke for him.
Alex Zaldivar was killed just before he was to testify against Okafor and Bernard, who were accused of holding him and three others at gunpoint and robbing them in their own home in Ocoee last year.
Rafael Zaldivar, Alex Zaldivar's father, unleashed his anger at them from the witness stand.
"It's difficult for me to look at the one who took my son away. He is a coward. He is a savage," said Rafael Zaldivar.
Will Harrington was the only victim who testified Friday.
"The scumbags that sit over there today, I hope you feel some of the pain we're feeling. You disgust me," said Harrington in court.
Victims Brandon Campos and his sister, Brienna Campos, said afterward they are relieved both men will be behind bars for the rest of their lives.
"Nobody wishes for this to happen. It shouldn't happen to anyone. It sucks that it happened to us, but at least we're doing something about it," said Brandon Campos.
Okafor did not want to speak before he was sentenced, but Bernard did, and he complained that his rights were violated when the judge refused to try him separately for the home invasion.
"I was forced into trial with Okafor. My case looks worse than what it is," Bernard said in court.
Okafor will be back in court next year. He is charged with murder in the death of Alex Zaldivar.