ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Alex Zaldivar would have turned 21 this week. On September 12, 2012, just hours before he was set to testify in court as a victim and witness in a home invasion case against Bessamin Okafor, he and his two roommates were shot in their Ocoee home. Alex died, the two roommates severely injured.
Okafor was out of jail on home confinement, awaiting the trial when police say he slipped off his ankle monitoring device, went to Ocoee and opened fire of those witnesses.
"This is a case where the victim, Alex, was not protected as he should have been," said Attorney Jose Baez who is representing the family and acting as a victim's advocate. "And the family is extremely concerned that that sort of thing doesn't' happen again."
The Orange County Corrections Department and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs declined to comment on Baez's accusations; but did say, "This would be a day that would understandably very hard for the family and one that marks a young life lost too soon."
"The fact that the victims in this case complained multiple times to the Ocoee Police about possible witness tampering; the fact that Okafor had an open warrant in another county; the fact that he had 109 violations for his home confinement; the fact that this was a program-wide problem and not just an individual case, and those with the power could have saved Alex's life did nothing; I think they need to be held accountable for that," Baez told FOX 35.
When asked for a comment from Orange-Osceola Circuit Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry, a spokesperson for the judge told FOX 35, "Due to the fact that this case is still pending, and there is the possibility for future litigation, it would not be appropriate for the judge to comment."
As for their next step, Baez said he and a team of attorneys are exploring all possibilities.
"It's not easy, because the facts seem to fall under areas that are protected by by various state immunities. However, if we have to get creative and we have to make new law, that's what we're going to do," said Baez.
The State of Florida's first-degree murder trail against Bessamin Okafor for the death of Alex Zaldivar is scheduled for October.