An unemployed cook will be spending life in prison for bludgeoning a Phoenix manicurist to death with a metal pipe in a south Scottsdale parking lot nearly 4 1/2 years ago, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled.
Sameh “Sammy” Basta, who turned 35 on Monday, was sentenced by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Thomas O’Toole on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping on Friday after the jury rejected the death penalty on Nov. 19, according to court records.
Basta will serve his sentence without the possibility of parole in 25 years.
Basta told police he killed 32-year-old Ha Nu Hoang, stuffed her body in her car trunk and left it at a Scottsdale office building on Aug. 8, 2003. Basta told police that Hoang drove him back to his apartment in Phoenix, where he attacked her with the pipe after she had tried to steal money from his wallet.
Police found Hoang’s body three days later in a parking lot at 6300 E. Thomas Road after someone reported an odor emitting from the trunk of a 2002 Honda Accord registered to Hoang’s husband.
Surveillance video revealed that Basta met Hoang at Casino Arizona, and after he had left with her, he returned to the casino alone and continued gambling.