West man convicted of murder sentenced to life in prison

WACO - A West man convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 2014 has been sentenced to life in prison.

The prosecution brought several character witnesses to the stand Tuesday who testified that David Zahirniak was abusive and dangerous.

Zahirniak was convicted Monday for the murder of Caitlyn Goates-Reed.  She was shot to death in her West mobile home.

Zahirniak's ex-girlfriend testified Tuesday that he stalked her for a year after they broke up.

Zahirniak's defense team claimed Goates-Reed committed suicide and that he found her dead.

An expert for the defense said the evidence pointed to suicide but detectives assigned to the case said their expert didn't see most of the evidence or the autopsy.

In closing arguments, prosecutors said to believe Zahirniak's story, the jurors would have had to believe every witness was a liar, including 2 fellow inmates who both said Zahirniak killed Reed with a handgun.

The defense said she was depressed, and while they had a tumultuous, volatile relationship, that didn't mean he killed her.

"I'm pleased, it's been a long time waiting and I'm glad we got something to say, now we can go home, hug our kids, we know what happened, and go ahead and tell them later on in life the story about their mom and everything," Zachary Goates, Caitlyn's ex-husband said Monday after the verdict.

(© 2016 KCEN)


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