Steven Andrew Zinda was sentenced today to 16 years to life in prison for the March 20, 2011, ax murder of David Valdez in Rio Linda.
Zinda chased down Valdez, 20, and killed him in a field in the middle of the night after the victim's car ran into a ditch near the defendant's home. Zinda had just returned to his residence in the 7200 block of Second Street around 3:30 a.m. and found that it was in the process of being burglarized. He went after Valdez in the mistaken belief that he had something to do with the burglary.
In a statement to Valdez' family, Zinda apologized and added, "I beg for you for forgiveness for the actions that took place that morning."
Valdez' mother, Maria Nunez, made a tearful statement to the court that she concluded by saying, "I really, really miss my boy."
PHOTO: Maria Nunez, mother of victim Daniel Valdez, speaks to reporters after the sentencing of Steven Zinda. Photo by The Bee's Andy Furillo