Okafor murder delayed; scuffle follows outside courthouse

- The death penalty hearing for Bessman Okafor was temporarily put on hold when the convicted killer appeared to suffer from a panic attack Thursday afternoon.

Okafor’s aunt was on the stand when he began breathing heavily and had trouble responding to his attorneys. A spokeswoman for the Orange County Corrections Department said Okafor was transported from the courthouse for medical evaluation under the escort of corrections officials. Officials aren’t saying where Okafor was treated or what he was treated for, citing privacy concerns. Due to Okafor’s condition, the courthouse was evacuated.

A scuffle broke out between Okafor’s family and relatives of his murder victim, Alex Zaldivar. No one from either party was arrested.

Court is expected to resume Friday morning at 8:30.

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