MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The jury found Brandon Ajizadeh guilty of murder. He was accused of stabbing his friend James Dean to death in July 2011 in a University of South Alabama dorm room.
Seconds after the verdict was read, Ajizadeh's sister cried out in the courtroom.
"They took everything from him," said his sister.
The screaming continued into the hallway. "They are liars. They have the wrong person," she said.
Ajizadeh was convicted of stabbing his friend, Dean, 19, to death on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Jo Beth Murphree said the crime scene was gruesome.
Authorities said Dean was stabbed 24 times.
"Seven of those (wounds were) in the back. A very large butcher knife was left plunged into his back. His throat was cut. It left a gaping hole and then stabs and cuts all over the rest of his body. It was carnage. It was a blood bath," said Murphree.
Ajizadeh took the stand February 7 to tell what he remembered about that deadly night.
Ajizadeh testified that he constantly bought things for the victim James Dean and another friend Keenan Henderson.
Henderson testified during the trial and was considered the state's main witness.
The state has painted a picture of Ajizadeh as jealous of the relationship between Henderson and Dean. Defense attorney Jeff Deen said his client was constantly used by the two for money, his vehicles and his dorm room.
Ajizadeh said the night Dean died, he worked and got home around 10 p.m. There were three others at his dorm room: the victim Dean, Henderson and Chris Moore.
Ajizadeh said Dean took Henderson home then returned to the dorm. Ajizadeh said he took Moore to his sister's home but they both returned to retrieve more of Moore's belongings.
Testimony in court revealed that both Moore and Dean had been staying at Ajizadeh's dorm, sometimes days at a time.
Ajizadeh said when they returned to the dorm, Moore went in to get his belongings. Ajizadeh said he was out at the vehicle. Ajizadeh said he went to the dorm room when Moore didn't return and Ajizadeh said when he opened the dorm room he saw Moore stabbing James Dean.
Ajizadeh said he did clean up some of the scene, including the knife used. Ajizadeh said he then put the clean knife back into the body of Dean.
Ajizadeh said Moore went back to his sister's house, Ajizadeh said he left but then came back to the dorm. It was at that time he called 911.
Ajizadeh said he was intensely questioned by police and because of that he thought Moore might come after him. Ajizadeh told police he did kill Dean.
"I was surprised that he said it because I had never heard that before. He had never said that to anyone involved in law enforcement so that was the first anybody heard of that," said Murphree.
In her closing arguments, Murphree called Ajizadeh a "loner" and said, "You have a man here who reached a point. Enough was enough for him."
She said he felt weak compared to Dean and called the knife his "great equalizer."
Murphree called the jury to "use your common sense to deliver justice" for a "cowardly stealth attack."
After 20 minutes of deliberation, Ajizadeh was found guilty.
"They gave it a lot of thought. I think that the evidence in the case was overwhelming," said Murphree.
Deen called the case a challenge.
"Very challenging when you have a body in a room when only two people were in it, and one of them is the deceased and one is the defendant. It's pretty challenging," said Deen.
Murphree's request to have Ajizadeh held without bond until his sentencing was granted.
As he was cuffed his mother cried out, "When can I see my son? Can I see my son before you take him?"
Deen said he will request a bond be granted at a later date.
"He's got family here in town. He's not going to be a risk to run off. So he's not really a danger to the community between now and sentencing," said Deen.
Sentencing is set for March 21. Ajizadeh faces 10 years to life.
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