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Turkish media reports confession in murder of American tourist


Police officers escort a Turkish man identified only as Ziya T., center, suspected of killing New York City woman Sarai Sierra who died from a fatal blow to the head in Istanbul in January, outside a security office in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, March 18, 2013.

A reported videotaped confession from the Turkish man suspected of killing an American tourist in Istanbul appeared on a Turkish newspaper’s website Monday, showing the suspect recounting how he came to allegedly bludgeon the woman to death.

The man identified by authorities only as "Ziya T." was arrested by Turkish police on Sunday in connection with death of a New York City woman whose body was found beaten to death in the ruins of Istanbul’s old city wall last month.

A taped video confession appeared Monday on Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, in which a man admits to killing 33-year-old Sarai Sierra after struggling with her for almost a half hour.

Hurriyet says it acquired the footage without information on how, when or where it was recorded.

In the video, the man  admits to remembering very little about the incident. “I had sniffed too much glue,” the man says in the video, according to an English translation provided underneath.

“I had lost myself,” he says.

Ziya guesses that he hit the mother of two with a heavy object while noting his memory is hazy of the details. According to reports, the American hit the suspect with her cell phone after he accosted her and tried to kiss her. In a rage he allegedly struck her, ultimately leading to her death.

In the video, Ziya claims to have not known Sierra was an American tourist.

The next morning he returned to the scene of the crime and covered Sierra’s body, the suspect says in the video. He remained in Turkey until escaping to Syria when police found the body ten days after the attack.

Turkish news organizations reported that the suspect was wounded fighting with the rebels in Syria, a country ravaged by a civil war that has lasted two years. In the fighting Ziya’s leg was wounded, according to reports. That resulted in him returning to Turkey where he was eventually captured.

Reuters contributed to this story