Neo-Nazi found guilty of murder in attack on biracial couple in Phoenix

Jan 9, 2019, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jan 10, 2019, 8:05 am
(Arizona Department of Corrections via AP)...
(Arizona Department of Corrections via AP)
(Arizona Department of Corrections via AP)

PHOENIX – A neo-Nazi was found guilty of murder and a host of other charges Wednesday for fatally shooting a white woman and trying to kill her black boyfriend in a Phoenix park.

A Maricopa County Superior Court press release said a jury convicted 37-year-old Travis Ricci of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of drive-by shooting, assisting criminal syndicate and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The jury did not reach a verdict on misconduct involving a weapons charge and will continue deliberations Thursday afternoon.

The first-degree murder conviction means Ricci faces life in prison or the death penalty for killing Kelly Ann Jaeger in 2009.

Ricci was retried after his first trial this summer ended in a mistrial because a witness, in response to a prosecutor’s question, revealed that Ricci had spent time in prison.

Jurors weren’t supposed to hear about Ricci’s criminal history.

At the start of the retrial in October 2018, prosecutor Ryan Green told jurors that Ricci embraced the lifestyle of white supremacy, had Nazi and white-power tattoos across his body, and used racial slurs toward Jaeger’s boyfriend during a dispute at the park.

Authorities said a shirtless Ricci confronted Jaeger and her boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker, at the park and harassed Wellmaker. They said Ricci left to get a shotgun from his home and falsely told people there that he saw a black man hitting a white woman.

Authorities say Ricci returned to the area and fired two shotgun blasts from a car as Jaeger and Ricci stood near a pay phone. They said Ricci intended to shoot Wellmaker but instead struck Jaeger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Neo-Nazi found guilty of murder in attack on biracial couple in Phoenix