Keith Murauskas, found guilty in the bludgeoning death of Paul Salazar, looked at the victim's family members who yelled at him from the gallery yesterday during a sentencing hearing.

Killer’s sentencing
delayed again

The man convicted in a taxi
owner's death gets hurt in a
scuffle with sheriffs this morning

By Leila Fujimori

Keith Murauskas, convicted in the sledgehammer bludgeoning and stabbing death of taxicab owner Paul Salazar, attacked one or both sheriffs who were leading him back to the cell block during a recess during sentencing proceedings this morning, a deputy prosecutor said.

While being subdued, Murauskas hit his head on the ground and sustained a serious cut and was treated at the scene by paramedics, lawyers in the case said.

Murauskas' sentencing was continued until tomorrow. It's the second time in as many days that sentencing was delayed in the case.

Yesterday, an angry courtroom outburst interrupted the sentencing when Abraham Salazar, Paul's brother who flew in from the mainland, told the court his brother built up his taxi business with hard work but met "two evil creatures ... who chose to kill and steal" what he had worked for.

"He should die the same way my brother died," Salazar said.

Murauskas told the judge he would respond to Salazar's comments.

"Shut the f---- up you f----ing rat," shouted another brother, John Salazar, from the courtroom gallery.

Judge Dexter Del Rosario halted the proceedings and, after a break, continued the sentencing until this morning.

In January a jury convicted Murauskas of the April 1999 murder and kidnapping of Paul Salazar and first-degree attempted murder of Salazar's wife, Virginia.

Murauskas faces a mandatory life term without parole.

The 46-year-old cab driver, wearing orange prison scrubs, was allowed to have his handcuffs removed to handle documents.

He had been delaying the sentencing by challenging the prosecutor's witnesses.

Murauskas had served 13 years in federal and state prisons for bank robberies, and was on parole when he and acquaintance Edward Wallace Martin committed the April 1999 crimes.

Salazar had rented taxis to Martin and previously to Murauskas.

The two went to Salazar's Magellan Avenue apartment to steal the contents of a safe. Salazar's wife failed to come home after work and escaped harm.

Martin was sentenced Feb. 19 to life in prison with a possibility of parole after he serves 20 years.

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