69-year-old Martin Zale was sentenced to 27 to 50 years in prison for second-degree murder. In what prosecutors describe to be a road-rage incident Martin made himself guilty of having killed a father of two.
On May 15 Zale was convicted of both second-degree murder and firearm charges. The fatal shooting of 43-year-old Derek Flemming took place on September 2. Both Zale and Flemming were from Michigan: Zale was from Marion Township and the victim was from Oceola Township.
Miriam Cavanaugh, Livingston County Judge, said that what happened between Zale and Flemming was a premeditated shooting and that Zale was in fact looking for conflict. According to Cavanaugh if it had not been for Flemming Zale would have killed anybody else.
In September Zale and Flemming were involved in a conflict at a stop-light which was on Grand River Avenue, Genoa Township. According to witnesses both men were stopped in traffic. Flemming went to Zale’s pickup truck and complained about his aggressive way of driving. According to Zale Flemming started hitting his truck so he put his window down to see what the man was doing. Flemming hit the man through the window threatening to beat him. At first Zale claimed that he shot Flemming out of self-defense. However when Daniel Rose, assistant prosecutor, asked him whether he had every intention to kill when he pulled the trigger Zale replied yes.
When the incident took place Derek Flemming was on his way to pick up his two children. He was together with his wife at the stop-light when Zale’s speeding pickup almost struck their Ford Escape car. Before Zale was sentenced Amy Flemming said in court that she was a broken woman and so were her children.
Since Zale had a Dodge Ram pickup the prosecutor said that he was protected and Zale should have kept the window up if he wanted to defend himself. Besides second-degree murder, Zale was also charged for two counts of weapon discharge and felony firearms. In May the jury rejected to convict the man for first-degree murder so instead Zale was sentenced to second-degree murder which means he will carry the sentence up to life in prison but he has the chance at parole.
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