(WJBK) - A jury has been seated Monday in the trial of Jeffery Zeigler, the Rochester Hills man accused of shooting at a teenager who knocked on his door for directions earlier this year. Opening statements are expected to be heard Monday afternoon.
According to prosecutors, 14-year old Brennan Walker missed the bus and got lost trying to walk through a subdivision to school. He found a random house to ask for help, but he was met at the front door with a woman accusing him of trying to break into their house.
"I got to the house, and I knocked on the lady's door. Then she started yelling at me and she was like, 'Why are you trying to break into my house?' I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. And she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that's when I heard the gunshot," Walker told us back in April.
He was not hit.
Zeigler, 53, says he fired in self-defense because he thought the teen was trying break into his home. He's facing charges including assault with intent to murder. A judge ordered has ordered no livestreaming allowed during his trial.
This isn't the first time Zeigler's been in trouble with a gun. Warren police arrested him for shooting at a car in a road rage incident on I-696 in 2004. Zeigler faced an aggravated felonious assault charge, but plead guilty to a misdemeanor. He got one year of probation plus fines and court costs.
In this case, Walker told us he's just glad he didn't become a statistic.
This situation is an eerie reminder of one that ended tragically in Dearborn Heights, Mich. back in 2013 and got national headlines, when a homeowner shot and killed a young black woman in the middle of the night after she knocked on his door.
It's not completely known why 19-year-old Renisha McBride knocked on Ted Wafer's door that night, though she had crashed her car a few blocks away. She had been drinking and was disoriented when she went up to his house, but she was not armed.
Wafer testified he grabbed his shotgun opened the door and fired his weapon at McBride because he feared she was an intruder and that he killed her in self-defense, but the jury did not agree.
He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to at least 17 years in prison. Last year, he tried to get an appeal based on jury instructions but the Michigan Supreme Court denied that appeal in March.