ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — It’s been nearly a decade since 19-year-old Alex Zaldivar was executed by convicted killer Bessman Okafor at his Ocoee home.
Okafor was sentenced to death, but the state Supreme Court flip-flopped on whether a jury must be unanimous when it comes to recommending the death penalty in capital murder cases.
Okafor was back in front of a judge on Thursday to determine when his resentencing trial will begin.
The judge ruled that the trial will begin eight months from now in March 2022, but there was also a second hearing in court regarding the home invasion case that began the legal disagreement.
Zaldivar’s father said he plans to keep fighting to see his son’s murderer get what’s coming to him.
Rafael Zaldivar has been to every court hearing for Okafor over the last 10 years. Okafor was convicted of killing his son in 2012.
“This guy just exterminated him, because he didn’t want to go to prison. He was selfish and he took his life,” Rafael said.
Alex was supposed to testify against Okafor after he broke into Alex’s home in Ocoee in 2012. Prosecutors said Okafor went to the home wearing an ankle monitor while out on bond, and shot Alex and his two roommates execution-style to keep them from testifying.
In court on Thursday, Okafor’s attorney argued that his attorney at the time in that home invasion case presented the jury with an alibi defense, but changed course mid-trial, never presenting testimony to the jury that could clear him.
Rafael said the tactic is just a ploy to add more confusion to the captial murder case, which he has to relive again after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a jury must be unanimous when it comes to death penalty cases. The state’s high court later reversed that decision, but determined the death penalty in this case and dozens of others could not be reinstated.
The judge said she would take what she heard in court on Thursday under advisement and will rule later.