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Northern California man convicted in ax killing

SACRAMENTO — A Sacramento County man charged in the ax killing of a man he mistakenly thought had broken into his home has been convicted of second-degree murder.

The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/TU131H ) 30-year-old Steven Zinda was found guilty Tuesday in the killing of David Valdez last spring.

Zinda had returned to his Rio Linda home on March 20 and found it ransacked. Authorities say when he saw the 20-year-old Valdez, who had just left a nearby party and was waiting for a ride, Zinda grabbed an ax and attacked him.

During the trial, prosecutors said Zinda would not have been justified in killing Valdez even he had been involved in the burglary.

Zinda's defense attorney, Tom Johnson, argued the burglary provoked Zinda and that he should have been convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

Johnson says his client could face 16 years to life in prison when he's sentenced on Jan. 11.


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