Man sentenced to life in prison for murder - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Man sentenced to life in prison for murder

(Source: McLennan County Jail) (Source: McLennan County Jail)
(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

The jury sentenced David Zahirniak to life in prison with a $10,000 fine. The sentencing took less than 30 minutes.

The jury convicted Zahirniak in the shooting death of 21-year-old Caitlyn Reed in 2014, on Monday.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Moody said this was the toughest murder case he has ever handled.

He said that's because of problems he faced preparing for trial. "There were several issues with the forensics where they were unable to say whether it was a murder or it was a suicide," Moody said. 

So, the case relied heavily on witness testimony.

"They had heard about him stalking and beating other women and they had heard about him molesting children," he said. "I think their minds were pretty much made up when they went back there," Moody said. "This is what needed to happen. That's where Mr. Zaherniak belongs is in prison for the rest of his life."

The trial resumed Monday with Zahirniak taking the stand. He talked about his relationship with Reed while testifying, and said that he found the woman dead after she killed herself.

McLennan County Sheriff's office Deputy Joseph Scaramucci Took the stand after Zahirniak. The prosecution brought in a mannequin so that the detective could demonstrate how Reed was shot, so that Zahirniak's claim of Reed killing herself could be discredited. 

Zahirniak's attorney said the state's demonstration did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"I think there are a lot of holes in their case. And in my opinion they not only have to prove that he murdered her, they also have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt it was suicide. I don't think they did that," the defense attorney said. "I think we presented all the information to the jury. There are a lot of serious questions about what happened there, and it's in the jury's hands. I think there are a lot of doubts about what happened on that day."

The attorney said the holes exist because his client’s DNA could not convulsively be linked to the gun, but that the gun did test positive for the DNA of the woman who died.

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for less than two hours before they reached a verdict. Zahirniak was found guilty of murdering Reed. 

Zahirniak was also given a $10,000 fine by the jury. He will qualify for parole in 30 years. 

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved. 

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