Bianca Prieto, Orlando Sentinel">

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton will seek death penalty in Ocoee witness killing

Orange County

prosecutors filed information this week to seek the death penalty against Bessman Okafor in the


witness killing case.

This is the first death penalty decision made under the direction of new Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

In November, prosecutors working under former State Attorney Lawson Lamar announced the plan to seek the death penalty, however Ashton said he would review all death penalty cases after he took office.

Okafor, 28, is the alleged mastermind behind a conspiracy to kill witnesses who planned to testify against him in a May home invasion case. Okafor and another man, 27-year-old Nolan Bernard, are accused of bursting into a home in May, holding the residents at gunpoint, tying them up and ransacking the home.

The men were arrested a short time later by

Orange County Sheriff's Office

and were in possession of the stolen items, court records show. Bernard has been in the Orange County Jail since his arrest. Okafor was out on bond at the time of the slaying.

The four victims in the case gave sworn statements and were set to testify against Okafor and Bernard on the planned Sept. 11 trial date. But a day before the hearing, three men went to the Ocoee home and shot three of the young people inside. Alex Zaldivar, a 19-year-old college student, died. His roommates, siblings Brienna and Remington Campos, survived the execution-style shooting.

Zaldivar and Brienna Campos, 20, were victims in the May home invasion who planned to testify. Remingtion Campos, 23, was not home during the initial home invasion.

Orlando police led the investigation into Zaldivar's death on behalf of the Joint Homicide Investigation Team, which was created in June and gave law enforcement powers to the Orlando homicide detectives and some detectives from smaller agencies to work anywhere in Orange and Osceola counties.

Nine people were arrested in connection to the witness killing, including several members of Okafor's family.

The Orange County grand jury indicted Okafor on one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and burglary with a battery. Two of Okafor's associates, 26-year-old Emmaneul Wallace and 25-year-old Donnell Godfrey, face the same charges. or 407-420-5620.