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Turkish Man Gets Life Term For Staten Island Mother’s Death

Ziya Tasali (credit: CBS 2)

Ziya Tasali (credit: CBS 2)

ISTANBUL (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Turkish court has sentenced a man to life in prison for killing a Staten Island mother in Istanbul last year.

The Istanbul court on Tuesday also sentenced 47-year-old Ziya Tasali to eight years in prison for sexual assault and theft.

Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, was found dead in January 2013 amid Istanbul’s ancient city walls, days after her family reported her missing during a solo vacation in the city.

Police said Sierra suffered a fatal blow to the head and was also stabbed.

Tasali, a scrap-paper collector, has been on trial for Sierra’s death since September.

Sierra left for Istanbul on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby. She came to Istanbul alone after her friend canceled for financial reasons.

Sarai Sierra (credit: Sierra family handout)

Sarai Sierra (credit: Sierra family handout)

Her family last heard from her on Jan. 21, when she was supposed to start her journey home, but she never checked into her flight.

Sierra’s husband, Steven, and brother, David Jimenez, traveled to Istanbul to help in the search. Sierra’s children were 9 and 11 at the time.

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