Sacto 9-1-1
December 11, 2012
Jurors find Rio Linda man guilty of second-degree murder in ax-killing case

RB Axe Murder 3.JPGA Sacramento Superior Court jury found Steven Zinda of Rio Linda guilty Tuesday of second-degree murder in the ax killing of a 20-year-old man he mistakenly thought burglarized his Rio Linda home.

Zinda, 31, came home from a friend's house at 3 a.m on March 20, 2011, to find his garage door open. He told sheriff's detectives that when he went into his house in the 7200 block of Second Street from the garage, he saw burglars running out the front door.

In his interview with a sheriff's investigator, Zinda said when he went outside to chase the burglars, he saw a man later identified as David Valdez, 20, standing on the corner drinking out of half-gallon rum bottle. Authorities said that Valdez was waiting for friends to help him after he had run his car into a ditch.

When Zinda approached Valdez with an ax, he said the victim ran away. Zinda then chased Valdez more than 1,000 feet into a field and hit him several times with the ax. Authorities said Valdez died in the field of the chop wounds to the head administered by Zinda.

Deputy District Attorney Sheri Greco argued to Zinda's Sacramento Superior Court jury last week that the defendant would not have been justified in killing Valdez even if the victim had been involved in the burglary, which the prosecutor said he wasn't.

Defense attorney Tom Johnson said the burglary provoked Zinda into the attack and that he should have been convicted of voluntary manslaughter and not murder.

Photo caption: Steven A. Zinda listens to proceedings during a preliminary hearing in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Photo by Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About Sacto 9-1-1

Sacto 9-1-1 is a blog on crime and emergency services news in the Sacramento region.

Send feedback on Sacto 9-1-1 to Assistant Metro Editor Anthony Sorci at asorci@sacbee.com

Subscribe to Breaking News Alerts

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Get news in your inbox | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

Sacto 9-1-1 Q&A

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues. QUESTION: A couple of years ago, a Sacramento tax attorney named Roni Deutch was the target of an investigation by the California Department of Justice. She was accused of bilking clients out of millions and defying a court (Read More)

More Questions and Answers
See all the crime Q&As
Submit your question

December 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Monthly Archives


Kim Minugh on Twitter

Follow "Kim_Minugh" on Twitter

Local Agencies on Twitter

Categories