Jury seated, testimony begins in Yazdi murder trial



Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE


Posted on October 15, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 6:29 PM

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas -- The murder trial of a man accused of killing a college student has begun. Attorneys have wrapped up their jury selection in the trial of Fred Yazdi. Seven women, five men and two alternates were seated Tuesday. One juror is a former firearms instructor.

Yazdi is charged with killing Texas State University student Enrique Recio in February of 2012. Investigators say Recio wrecked his car near Yazdi's Avery Ranch home. Prosecutors say he had been drinking with a buddy in downtown Austin and left the scene to avoid a DWI.

Defense attorney Bob Phillips questioned potential jurors over their positions on several key issues. Many pertained to the Castle Doctrine, intruders, and how a juror believes that type of situation should be handled.

He also asked jurors if they have a problem with the fact that Yazdi is a naturalized citizen from Iran who worked for the IRS.

The Castle Doctrine is the term used when a person uses deadly force to protect his or her home. That's what Yazdi's attorneys say happened in February of 2012.

Recio crashed his car near Yazdi's Avery Ranch home. Phillips says Yazdi thought someone was trying to break into his house saying Recio slammed his shoulder into the front door and crawled erratically in the front yard by his wife's car. He shot Recio three times.

"When they turned Mr Recio over, underneath his body was a cell phone, that in the early morning hours of 3 am, in the dark of night, in the terror Mr Yazdi was experiencing, Mr. Yazdi believed was a weapon," said Phillips.

Prosecutors say Yazdi has a history of making violent threats and is accused of intimidating witnesses. They say he revved the engine of his car outside the homes of people scheduled to testify at his trial.

The trial could last until the middle of next week.