Punishment Phase Begins In Barnes & Noble Murder - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/27/04 - Tyler

Punishment Phase Begins In Barnes & Noble Murder

It's been almost one year since Roozbeh Arianpour was murdered by his former classmate and childhood friend, Zaid Albana. Albana says it was an act of revenge for an ongoing dispute. In court today, the prosecution and witnesses described Roozbeh as a brilliant young man of high moral character, who respected his elders and his peers.

Roozbeh's family was in shock when they heard he had died from his wounds.

"He's dead," Mohammad Arianpour, Roozbeh's father, said, in tears. "Just, I said, I couldn't believe it."

"I feel I've been buried alive," Farideh Arianpour, Roozbeh's mother, who was choked up, said. "Every night, my head is on Roozbeh's chest and casket. And I think about his wound. I smell his clothes."

Roozbeh's girlfriend of 2-and-a-half years, Kelly O'Dell, was with him that night last June, when they had gone to Barnes & Noble to meet Albana. She was waiting in the car, when she heard the first gunshot. Later that night, she found out the man she planned to spend the rest of her life with was dead.

"I was just in utter disbelief," she said, crying and quivering on the stand. "I mean, I couldn't believe that my world had been taken away from me. He taught me what it was to love."

Roozbeh had graduated Summa Cum Laude in genetics from Texas A&M University, received his masters degree from Oxford University in England, and had just been accepted to medical school in San Antonio. Roozbeh had also spent time volunteering in Peru, rescuing abandoned babies from dumpsters and caring for them in a hospital.

"Students like Roozbeh become a part of my family," Dr. Ira Greenbaum, Roozbeh's professor of genetics and biology at A&M, said. "They become a part of me. I can't begin to feel the pain that his family felt, but I can tell you that losing Roozbeh was like losing my own son."

"I think about him constantly," Rouzheen Arianpour, Roozbeh's sister, said. "And the only thing that is remotely close to solace is justice."

Both sides in the case will be back in court next Friday. The defense will present its evidence. And a sentence for Albana could be handed down as early as next Friday. Albana could get up to life in prison.

Julie Tam, reporting.

Powered by Frankly