Jeffrey Zeigler, the White, suburban Detroit homeowner who shot at a lost Black teenager, was convicted Friday after being found guilty by a jury in Oakland County Circuit Court of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.
As TheGrio previously reported, Zeigler, 53, attracted national attention and outrage after his firing his weapon at Brennan Walker, who was 14 at the time, when he stopped at Zeigler’s house seeking directions to his school. The man’s claim that he accidentally shot at the teen did not hold up to a video shown during his trial which shows that he deliberately fired his gun in the boy’s direction, the Oakland Press reports.
Walker’s mother reportedly cried frequently during the trial, especially at the surveillance videos of her son that were played for jurors.
“When I saw that video, my thought process switched… I knew which direction I had to go. I was shocked,” Detective Shawn Pace testified. After viewing it a second time, he said Zeigler was “charged up, because I was offended by what I had seen.”
“He took a big drink of water, looked at me and said, ‘I’m tired of being a victim.’ That was it,” Pace said.
He was charged with assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, but as noted by The Detroit News, Judge Wendy Potts gave jurors the option of convicting Zeigler on the lesser charge.
“We don’t feel he did anything wrong and we don’t feel the prosecution proved any kind of intent,” said Defense attorney Rob Morad, who did not rule out an appeal. “You had a couple who have had several breaking and enterings and were fearful. His wife’s screams put things in motion but he loves her and was trying to protect her. I know he wished he had never gone outside his house that morning.”
Zeigler faces 10 years in prison for the assault conviction, plus a mandatory two years for the firearm count. The judge revoked his bond and ordered him to jail pending sentencing Nov. 13.