Skip to content

Episode 100: Alex Zaldivar murder trial

In May 2013, Bessman Okafor and Nolan Bernard broke into a home in a quiet suburb of Ococee, Florida, after misidentifying it as a “drug house.” When it was clear they had the wrong place, the men tied up the house’s four teenage inhabitants, Alex Zaldivar, Brienna Campos, and their two roommates, Will and Brandon. The youngsters were threatened with guns, and robbed of their cash, laptops, cellphones, and electronics. Police quickly identified Okafor and Bernard, who were arrested and released on bond.

Their trial date was set for September 11 2013, and the youngsters were listed as witnesses. On September 10, Okafor and Bernard returned to the home in the middle of the night and woke up the sleeping inhabitants: Alex Zaldivar, 19, Brienna Campos, 20, and her brother  Remington, 23, who were lined up and shot in the head. Alex was killed, but Brienna and Remington survived. A jury found the gunman, Bessman Okafor, guilty of Zaldivar’s murder and attempted murder of his two roommates, and recommended the death penalty by a vote of 11-1. But the case was overturned because the jury was not unanimous, and Okafor is waiting for retrial.

This episode contains State witnesses from Okafor’s murder trial in August 2015: Amy Scott, a neighbor to whom Remington and Brienna ran for help; officer Daniel Schilling, who investigated the crime, and victim Brienna Campos.

Listen to the episode here.