Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Waco

Sentencing begins in Avery Ranch murder trial

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Thursday was the first day of sentencing for Fred Yazdi, the man convicted of murdering 23-year-old Eric Recio.

Yazdi was found guilty late Wednesday night in the shooting death of 23-year-old Enrique Recio last year. Prosecutors say on Feb. 3, 2012, Recio crashed his car near Yazdi's Avery Ranch home while driving drunk.

When Recio ran away from the scene to avoid getting caught, he ended up on Yazdi's property. That's when prosecutors say Yazdi went outside and shot Recio as he tried to run away.

On Thursday, both the prosecution and defense called witnesses to testify about Yazdi's demeanor in the neighborhood.

The prosecution called on nine witnesses Thursday; many described Yazdi as very aggressive and confrontational.

One resident said Yazdi cut him off on a road, and tempers rose when the witnesses confronted Yazdi. He testified that Yazdi warned the witness and said "I'm the Avery Ranch killer. You better watch who you are messing with."

The defense called a Yazdi family friend who said through an interpreter that she never saw a violent person in the defendant, but knew him as a family man.

Yazdi's wife of 13 years, Laila Yazdi, testified for the defense that other factors are at play. Fighting tears, she said her husband was "the perfect daddy" to their two boys. She also said that he was convicted because simply because he's Iranian.

The sentencing phase will continue Friday morning. Yazdi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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