ROCHESTER HILLS, MI — Jeffrey Zeigler has been found guilty of assault with intent to murder after opening fire on a black teen at his doorstep looking for help, according to reports.
He was charged with assault with intent to murder and felony firearms violations and a jury found him guilty on both counts, WDIV reported Friday afternoon.
Zeigler, 53, a former Detroit firefighter, shot at 14-year-old Brennan Walker April 12 outside their home in the 2200 block of South Christian Hills Drive after he missed the school bus.
Much of the argument centered on Zeigler’s wife, who screamed when she saw Walker at her doorstep.
“He acted on impulse without thinking of his actions,” Zeigler’s lawyer said in the closing arguments Friday.
The frantic 911 call was played and revealed the wife saying “a black man” was trying to break into her home in a panic.
“I asked him what he was doing here and he said he was going to school,” she said to the dispatcher.
The woman identified him as a teen, but said there was no school nearby.
The defense attorney said the woman didn’t expect anyone and had several previous break-ins at their home, prompting Zeigler to respond “emotionally.”
“There was no intent to kill here. There was an intent to scare here,” the defense attorney said.
This week in deliberation the surveillance footage showed a calm teen at the door who suddenly ran away, followed by Zeigler who took aim and fired a shot.
“For 24 years he saved lives, he didn’t take them,” the attorney argued. “He was trying to protect his wife.”
The prosecuting attorney argued that his intent was to harm Walker, despite the missed shot. She also said the prior breaking and entering stories should not elicit sympathy in the decision making of the jury.
“They in no way to justify the defendant thinking ‘I’m going to take care of this, I’m going to shoot,” she said. “Brennan Walker was his prey that day.”
Subscribe to Patch for more regional news and real-time alerts. Connect with Detroit Patch on Facebook. Image via Oakland County Sheriff’s Office
Click Here: Cardiff Blues Store