Just hours before Bessman Okafor was slated to stand trial in a home invasion case, authorities say he set out to ensure that his victims wouldn't be testifying against him.
On the eve of his trial for the May home invasion, cops say Okafor drove to his victims'
Two months after 19-year-old Alex Zaldivar was shot to death on his living room floor, Orlando police charged Okafor with first-degree murder. Investigators say more arrests are imminent.
"During the past two months detectives assigned to the Joint Homicide Investigation Team worked tirelessly on this case serving seven search warrants, seizing three vehicles and making six arrests on peripheral charges surrounding the case," Orlando police Captain John Mina said.
"Please understand that detectives know that Okafor...did not act alone and there will be additional arrests," he said.
Okafor's girlfriend Sherria Gordon, who is due to deliver their child in less than a month, is also charged in connection to the homicide.
"Okafor's girlfriend been identified as a contributor to this crime and has been untruthful to detectives and attorney's during the past two months while under oath," Mina said. "Due to her role in this crime as well as her repeated lies to cover up this murder and suspect involved, [Gordon] has also been charged with principal to murder in the first degree and accessory to murder after the fact."
Gordon, who has no prior criminal history, was first arrested in September for lying to police and was released from jail. Gordon was arrested on the new charges Tuesday afternoon. She is being held without bond.
It's unclear if either she or Okafor will face additional charges for the attempted murders of siblings Brienna and Remington Campos, who both survived after being shot in the head at point-blank range.
At the time of the deadly crime, Okafor was out on bond and being monitored by a radio frequency device for the May home invasion at the same home.
Zaldivar and his roommates were set to testify against Okafor in the May case the following day when they were attacked at home Sept. 10. Detectives arrested Okafor a day later and charged him with violating his pretrial release.
Zaldivar's father, Rafael, delivered an emotional statement to the media Tuesday: "I will get justice for my son. I will not rest."
Cops have arrested several people associated with Okafor since the slaying.
Okafor's half-brother, 24-year-old Idoreyin Ruffin, a convicted felon in a 2006 burglary case, was arrested after investigators found a loaded .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun under his driver's seat during a traffic stop.
Days later, Gordon was charged with making a false report to law enforcement. Gordon met with Orlando detectives Sept. 12 and provided an alibi for Okafor, a report shows. She claimed they were together from the evening of Sept. 9 until the morning of Sept. 10.
Gordon also told the detective that on Aug. 1, she took a handgun she owns to Okafor's sister's apartment on Mercy Drive and hid it under a tile in the floor, the report states. But when investigators searched the home, they found a concrete subfloor beneath the tile, making Gordon's statement implausible, according to police.
Okafor's mother, 52-year-old Catalina Cynthia Ruffin-Sinclair, was picked up by Orlando police Sept. 25 on one count of tampering with a witness, a first-degree felony. Records show Ruffin-Sinclair went to the victim's home twice and and offered cash and/or a car in exchange for dropping the charges in the May case, but the victims refused.
Then on Sept. 10, investigators charged Okafor's friend Antione McLaren with perjury and providing false information to police.
All of Okafor's associates who were arrested have since been released from the Orange County Jail.