Travis Ricci, an alleged neo-Nazi, presumably faces the dying penalty after being convicted of fatally capturing a white girl who was relationship a black man in what prosecutors dubbed a racist assault.
On Wednesday, a jury discovered Ricci, 37, responsible of first-degree homicide, aggravated assault, try and commit first-degree homicide and drive-by capturing, in response to Maricopa County Superior Court docket information. The fees stemmed from an incident on October 3, 2009, when Ricci noticed Kelly Ann Jaeger, 39, strolling in a Phoenix park along with her boyfriend, Jeffrey Wellmaker.
Investigators mentioned Ricci yelled racial slurs at Wellmaker, who’s black, and requested him, “What are you doing with a white lady?” in reference to Jaeger, in response to the Related Press. Ricci, who reportedly has Nazi and white-power tattoos, returned residence, received his shotgun and advised folks he noticed a black man hitting a white girl.
“They left to go search out the black man who was with the white girl,” prosecutor Ryan Inexperienced advised jurors throughout opening statements in June.
The 37-year-old returned to the park in a automobile that was being pushed by Aaron Levi Schmidt and fired the shotgun on the couple. Jaeger was hit within the abdomen from about 10 toes away and killed. Schmidt pleaded responsible to homicide within the first diploma, try to commit homicide within the first diploma and aiding to a prison syndicate.
Though Wellmaker was unable to pick out Ricci out of a police lineup, he described a novel tattoo the attacker had throughout the abdomen, which matched one Ricci has. Ricci pleaded not responsible. Throughout the trial his attorneys argued that two years after the assault Wellmaker and Ricci had been each in jail, in response to the Related Press, and the 2 reportedly performed chess collectively with out Wellmaker recognizing Ricci.
In July, Maricopa County Superior Court docket Choose Dean Fink declared a mistrial as a result of a witness advised jurors that Ricci frolicked in jail, which was info jurors weren’t imagined to be aware about. In 2011, Ricci was sentenced to jail time after he pleaded responsible to kidnapping in an unrelated case.
In a retrial, Prosecutors argued the capturing was racially motivated and claimed that it was meant to advance the agenda of the Vinlanders Social Membership, a neo-Nazi group recognized for violence. Nonetheless, each Schmidt and Ricci’s attorneys claimed their purchasers weren’t members of the group.
Ricci is at present serving a 22-year sentence for assault and weapons misconduct convictions for stabbing two males who intervened whereas he was attacking his girlfriend. Jurors might be chargeable for deciding if Ricci ought to face life in jail or the dying penalty for killing Jaeger.