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Report: Turkish Prosecutor Seeks Life Term For Sarai Sierra Murder Suspect

SI Mom Was Found Dead In Istanbul On Feb. 2
Turkish state media said this man, identified as Ziya Tasali, has been charged with Sarai Sierra's murder. (credit: CBS 2)

Turkish state media said this man, identified as Ziya Tasali, has been charged with Sarai Sierra’s murder. (credit: CBS 2)

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ISTANBUL (CBSNewYork/AP) – Turkey’s state-run news agency says a prosecutor is demanding life imprisonment for a man suspected of killing a Staten Island woman in Istanbul.

Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, was found dead on Feb. 2, nearly two weeks after she was reported missing during a solo vacation in the city. The suspect, identified as Ziya Tasali, was on the run for more than a month, before being nabbed.

Tasali was caught in Syria in March in a joint operation by Syrian rebels and Turkish officials, Istanbul’s police chief announced at the time.

The Anadolu Agency said Tuesday an Istanbul prosecutor is demanding a life sentence for Tasali on murder charges. Citing the prosecutor’s indictment, Anadolu says Tasali has also been charged with sexual assault and theft and is facing 14 years of prison for those crimes.

No trial date was set.

Police said Sierra suffered a fatal blow to the head. She also had been stabbed.

Sierra traveled to Istanbul alone on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby. She also made a side trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. It was her first trip outside of the United States.

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