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LOCAL > Sarai Sierra murder trials to begin tomorrow

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

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An Istanbul court will begin hearings in the Sarai Sierra murder case tomorrow, months after the capture of Z.T., the prime suspect in the case.

Z.T. could face an aggravated life sentence over charges related to the murder of the 31-year-old American woman, who was killed during a visit to Istanbul. The suspect, who has confessed to the murder, could face an extra five to 14 years over sexual harassment charges in connection with the case.

A letter sent by Sierra’s family reportedly forgiving Z.T. will also be read during the hearing, but the family is not expected to attend the hearings, daily Hürriyet reported.

Sierra, who left the United States for the first time in her life on Jan. 7 to take pictures in Istanbul, went missing in the city on Jan. 21. Her dead body was found Feb. 2 along Istanbul’s city walls near Sarayburnu beneath Topkapı Palace.

Z.T. or “Laz Ziya,” fled Istanbul shortly after Sierra’s body was discovered; police detained him on March 17 in the southern province of Hatay’s Reyhanlı district after he had reportedly re-entered the country from Syria.

September/02/2013

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