When Turkish police on Sunday announced they’d arrested a 46-year-old drifter named Ziya Tasali for last month’s murder of Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two from Staten Island, Tasali said he was high from huffing paint thinner and didn’t remember the crime. But by Monday, when a court officially charged Tasali, he told prosecutors in a statement that he beat Sierra to death with a rock near some Istanbul railroad tracks after she bloodied his nose with a cell phone when he abruptly tried to kiss her.
The New York Post has a detailed account, quoting Tasali’s statement that he found Sierra taking pictures, and his description of the 30-minute struggle that ensued. It’s a graphic read, so be warned. Tasali fled across the Syrian border and hid out with rebels there, but they gave him up when they heard he was wanted, the Post reports. Tasali faces life in prison if convicted.