A jury voted to send a Phoenix man, described by authorities as a neo-Nazi, to prison for life for killing a woman when he shot at an interracial couple as they walked.
Travis Ricci, 37, was sentenced in the October 2009 shooting death of Kelly Ann Jaeger, who was walkingnear a north Phoenix park with her boyfriend.
Prosecutors said Ricci was a member of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group. They contended he was angry that Jaeger, who was white, was with a black man and began to shout racial slurs at the couple before he shot at them.
This was the second time Ricci has been tried for Jaeger's death; the first ended in a mistrial.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, Ricci's defense lawyers contended his actions could be traced to an abusive childhood.
On Jan. 9, the jury had found him guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, attempt to commit first-degree murder, drive-by shooting, assisting a street gang and misconduct involving weapons.
They voted against the death penalty.
Maricopa County Superior Judge Dean Fink sentenced Ricci for the first-degree murder charge. Sentencing still is pending on the remaining charges.
On the night of the shooting, Ricci was drinking at the home of another skinhead and wandered into the streets, Maricopa County prosecutor Ryan Green said during opening statements.
After seeing Jaeger and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Wellmaker, near Palma Park, near 12th Street and Dunlap Avenue, he began yelling racial slurs because he was angry at seeing the interracial couple, the prosecutor said.
Ricci returned to the house and returned in a car with co-defendant Aaron Schmidt and a loaded shotgun.
Green said Ricci fired two shots that were meant for Wellmaker but hit Jaeger instead.
Wellmaker was the shooting's only witness.