At the end of an eight-day trial, prosecutors were able to convince jurors that the boyfriend of a college student from Fort Worth became her killer.
A Caldwell County jury convicted the boyfriend, Robert Fabian, of murdering Zuzu Verk, 21, and tampering with physical evidence on Tuesday. On Wednesday that same jury sentenced Fabian to life in prison.
Fabian also has been sentenced to 20 years on the tampering charge, according to KMID TV. He will be eligible for parole after 30 years.
Verk was from far north Fort Worth, and she graduated from Keller Timber Creek High School.
Chris Estrada, a man reported to be Fabian’s friend, told jurors that Fabian asked him to help move Verk’s body. Fabian confessed to him that he choked his girlfriend after a dinner date in October 2016, according to reporting from KMID, a Midland television station.
Estrada testified that he declined to help move Verk’s body, but also promised that he would not turn Fabian over to police.
Roy Roman, who was in jail with the accused, testified that Fabian confessed to choking Verk after she threatened to tell people that he and Estrada were in a bisexual relationship, KMID reported.
Verk’s remains were found in plastic painter’s drop cloths in a shallow grave near Alpine in far west Texas in February 2017, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Verk was a student at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.
The case was prosecuted by attorneys with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the trial was moved to Caldwell County after a change of venue motion was granted by the court.
Estrada was also arrested in the case and charged with evidence tampering, a second-degree felony. Estrada pleaded no contest and will be sentenced after Fabian’s trial.
Jurors also heard about phone calls between Fabian and Verk, and Fabian and Estrada, which Texas Ranger Jeffrey Vajdos described as frantic, television station NewsWest reported. Prosecutors argued that the phone records showed where Fabian and Estrada were during Verk’s disappearance, the KMID story said.