Murderer of US tourist Sarai Sierra sentenced to life


Ziya Tasalı, the Turkish citizen accused of murdering U.S. citizen Sarai Sierra in Istanbul early last year, has been sentenced to life in prison.

In addition to the life sentence, the Istanbul court fined Tasalı to five years and 10 months for assault, and two years and six months for theft.

Tasalı, also known as Laz Ziya, admitted to killing Sierra during his hearing on June 24; but said he did not rape her, but rather simply attempted to kiss her.

He had claimed earlier that he was on drugs at the time and that he killed the woman with a rock following a physical struggle.

Sarai Sierra, 33, left the U.S. for the first time on Jan. 7 last year to take pictures in Istanbul and then went missing on Jan. 21.

She planned to head to Galata Bridge, a well-known tourist destination that spans the Golden Horn waterway.

When she failed to appear in New York on her planned day of return, her husband, Steven Sierra, contacted the owner of the accommodation where she was staying only to learn that her passport and other belongings were still there.

Sierra’s dead body was found on Feb. 2, 2013, along Istanbul’s city walls near Sarayburnu beneath Topkapı Palace.


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