Neo-Nazi sentenced to life for shooting death of Phoenix woman

Mar 7, 2019, 2:46 PM | Updated: 2:51 pm
This undated photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows Travis Ricci. (Arizona D...

This undated photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows Travis Ricci. (Arizona Department of Corrections via AP).

(Arizona Department of Corrections via AP)

PHOENIX — A neo-Nazi was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for fatally shooting a white woman and trying to kill her black boyfriend in a Phoenix park a decade ago.

Travis Ricci, 37, was found guilty of first-degree murder and a host of other charges in January for the 2009 death of Kelly Ann Jaeger.

He was also convicted of aggravated assault, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of drive-by shooting, assisting criminal syndicate and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Ricci stood stoically with his hands in his pockets as the sentence was read aloud in court. The sentencing verdict spared him a possible death sentence.

A judge declared a mistrial last summer in the first trial after a witness, in response to a question from a prosecutor, made a reference to Ricci spending time in prison. Jurors weren’t supposed to hear about his criminal history.

Ricci was already serving a 22-year prison sentence in an unrelated case for aggravated assault and misconduct involving weapons.

Ricci was accused of angrily yelling racial slurs at Jaeger’s boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker, and harassing him over dating a white woman in an exchange in a north Phoenix park.

Prosecutors said Ricci left the scene to get a shotgun and fired two shots as Jaeger and her boyfriend stood near a pay phone.

Authorities believed Ricci intended to shoot the boyfriend, but instead fired the fatal shotgun blasts at Jaeger.

Ricci was a member of the white supremacist group Vinlanders Social Club.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Neo-Nazi sentenced to life for shooting death of Phoenix woman