Twenty-four-year-old Zaid Albana was sentenced to life in the state penitentiary. He murdered his former childhood friend and classmate Roozbeh Arianpour. The murder happened last June at the Tyler Barnes & Noble book store. The punishment phase began last Tuesday and ended today with a verdict of life in prison.
The family of the victim was satisfied. But the parents of the defendant feel a life sentence was too harsh for their son. Four psychiatrists total, from both sides, testified Albana had suffered from a delusion, which led him to murder his best friend, Roozbeh.
"I hope at one point in time that there's a medication that dissipates all the delusions, and you will feel the pure, true weight of what you have done," Kelly O'Dell, Roozbeh's girlfriend, said in her impact statement.
"How could you?" Rouzheen Arianpour, Roozbeh's sister, asked Zaid Albana. "You knew me for such a long time. Look at me. Do not turn your head down. What is that? You think you can put your head down, and it'll go away, that pain. It'll stay inside you forever. You took my brother away. Why?! He didn't do anything to you. It was all accusations, all part of your stupid, stupid delusions."
A delusion that led Albana to believe Roozbeh had somehow violated him and to say he feared becoming Roozbeh's sexual slave.
"Mr. Albana's delusion was a single person, fixed, false belief," Dr. Theresa Vail, a psychiatrist who appeared as a defense witness, said.
According to today's testimony, Albana had told the psychiatrists, he killed Roozbeh to end the fear, even though Albana knew that he was wrong in killing Roozbeh.
At the time of the killing, Roozbeh, 23, had just been accepted to medical school. He had also spent time volunteering to rescue abandoned babies in Peru and feeding the homeless in England, while getting his master's degree at Oxford University.
But even though Roozbeh's family felt the sentence was just, they say the Albanas are lucky to still have their son.
"He hasn't lost him. He still have it," Mohammad Arianpour, Roozbeh's father, said. "But where is my son? He's buried. He's buried. And I don't get him back."
However, Albana's parents say their son is mentally ill and doesn't deserve to spend life in prison.
Life in prison was the maximum sentence Albana could have received. The defense still has the opportunity to appeal the court's decision.