Russian man gets life in prison for killing ex-girlfriend in Phoenix
A convicted killer who was arrested while trying to flee Arizona, was sentenced to life in prison for the death of his estranged girlfriend. Igor Zubko was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport after buying a one-way ticket to San Francisco.
This case has received national attention because Zubko, a Russian immigrant, was in the country illegally.
In 2015, Zubko plotted the murder, shot and killed 22-year-old Shayley Estes, an Arizona State University student.
Zubko immigrated from Russia and overstayed his student visa. Prosecutors say he desperately wanted to become an American citizen and Shayley had agreed to help him. She ultimately ended the relationship and got a restraining order against Zubko.
Zubko sent a text message to Shayley's roommate, saying she would "be brutally murdered from Russia with love." Then he illegally purchased a gun and waited at Shayley's south Phoenix home. When she returned from work, Zubko shot her five times -- three times in her back.
He wrote a letter to the judge and did not make a statement during the hearing.
Zubko's family flew in from Russia and more than a dozen members of Shayley's family were at the sentencing.
"It's all the justice we can get right now.. there really truly is no justice when your child doesn't come home," said Shayley's mother, Shannon Estes.
Shayley's cousin, Nicole Liebenow added, "What he did was despicable and something that could've been avoided.. we need to watch for these illegal immigrants that come in our country and cause these crimes because this should have never happened."
Shayley's family has set up a memorial scholarship in her name to continue her drive to help others. She majored in chemistry at ASU and hoped to help develop cures for diseases some day.
Zubko will spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.