Neo-Nazi sentenced to life in jail for killing Phoenix girl after seeing couple that is interracial

A jury voted to deliver a Phoenix guy, described by authorities as a neo-Nazi, to jail for life for killing a lady as he shot at an interracial few as they strolled.

Travis Ricci, 37, had been sentenced when you look at the October 2009 shooting loss of Kelly Ann Jaeger, who had been walking near a north Phoenix park along with her boyfriend.

Prosecutors stated Ricci had been a member of this Vinlanders Social Club, a group that is neo-nazi. They contended he had been mad that Jaeger, who had been white, ended up being having a black colored guy and begun to shout racial slurs in the few before he shot at them.

It was the 2nd time Ricci happens to be tried for Jaeger’s death; the very first ended in a mistrial.

Prosecutors had wanted the death penalty, Ricci’s protection attorneys contended their actions could possibly be traced to an abusive youth.

On Jan. 9, the jury had discovered him accountable of first-degree murder, aggravated attack, make an effort to commit murder that is first-degree drive-by shooting, assisting a road gang and misconduct involving weapons.

They voted contrary to the death penalty.

Maricopa County Superior Judge Dean Fink sentenced Ricci for the first-degree murder cost. Sentencing ‘s still pending in the staying fees.

The shooting

From the evening associated with the shooting, Ricci had been consuming during the house of some other skinhead and wandered to the roads, Maricopa County prosecutor Ryan Green said during starting statements.

After seeing Jaeger along with her boyfriend, Jeffrey Wellmaker, near Palma Park, near 12th Street and Dunlap Avenue, he started yelling racial slurs because he had been furious at seeing the interracial few, the prosecutor stated.

Ricci came back does meetmindful work into the household and came back in a motor vehicle with co-defendant Aaron Schmidt and a shotgun that is loaded.

Green stated Ricci fired two shots which were designed for Wellmaker but hit Jaeger rather.

Wellmaker ended up being the shooting’s only witness.

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Is he a target of punishment?

In their protection, Ricci’s lawyers explained just just just how he had been mistreated as a kid.

Ricci lived together with his mom for almost the initial six several years of their life in Ohio before going to Arizona to reside together with dad. He later on had been put into foster care before you go to juvenile detention.

Their attorney, Jennifer Willmott, stated every right time prosecutors attempted to “minimize” Ricci’s punishment, the road that resulted in exactly exactly what took place has also been minimized.

She stated as he decided to go to jail when it comes to time that is first twenty years old, he had been interested in a family members in hopes of surviving and discovered one.

“when you’re challenged from the garden up to a battle and also you do not win, you aren’t planning to endure,” she stated.

Willmott stated he had beenn’t in search of trouble as soon as he left jail but their buddies from that right time came ultimately back into their life.

Ricci’s attorney Bruce Blumberg argued Ricci had possibilities to join the Aryan Brotherhood but decided against it. Ricci ended up being an associate of a group that is neo-Nazi the Vinlanders Social Club, relating to prosecutors.

Based on the Anti-Defamation League, which works to stop discrimination, it really is a skinhead team that is recognized for physical physical violence.

Willmott argued that when Ricci knew their great-grandfather had been killed by Nazis while fighting in World War II, he never ever could have put a swastika on himself. She stated Ricci provided Hanukkah cards to individuals he knew were Jewish and books that are read the Holocaust, like “Schindler’s List.”

Blumberg told the court about Adolf Eichmann, who had been hanged for their part when you look at the Holocaust.

“That’s a genuine nazi, maybe not a person who wears tattoos to their epidermis,” Blumberg argued.

Willmott provided understanding of a few of Ricci’s relationships.

Ricci’s ex-girlfriend is Hispanic plus one of their buddies that is black colored is hitched to a white girl, Willmott stated. Additionally, she stated one of his true siblings is dating a transgender guy.

A lot of them testified through the test.

“That is certainly not a person with hate in his heart,” Willmott told the court.

Is he a violent, white supremacist?

Green, the prosecutor, stated despite her mom’s death, Kelly’s child managed to graduate from senior high school and head to university.

Green told the jury despite Ricci’s rough youth, he decided their friendships as a grown-up.

“She had been murdered because of the confident man that is 28-year-old decided to go with his very own course,” he stated.

Green stated it had been crucial to consider there have been victims of Ricci’s actions. In court, he read a few of Ricci’s juvenile records.

Ricci utilized slurs that are racial had been disrespectful to females, based on documents cited by Green.

Records claimed he had been involved in a white supremacy gang in juvenile detention and which he hit another juvenile in the straight back associated with mind by having a cutting board he’d produced in woodworking store.

Ricci hit an employee user whom initially squeezed fees before dropping them and punched an education that is physical, Green stated.

Their state replayed a jail movie of Ricci entering a mobile of some other inmate, knocking the person towards the ground and beating the inmate’s mind right into a sleep many times.

“Is that about survival?” Green asked. “Was Travis Ricci wanting to endure, or ended up being the other guy wanting to endure?”

Reporter Bree Burkitt contributed for this report.


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