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Appeals court affirms murder conviction in road rage case

March 22, 2017

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has upheld the murder conviction of a Livingston County man who killed another motorist during a road rage incident in 2014.

Martin Zale raised several issues on appeal, including jury instructions. But they were swept away by Judge Peter O’Connell. Two others on the three-judge panel agreed that the second-degree murder conviction should stand but didn’t join the seven-page opinion.

Derek Flemming was shot after he confronted Zale about aggressive driving near Howell. Zale told jurors he felt threatened as he sat in his pickup truck. He insists he fired in self-defense.

But the prosecutor said Zale should have kept the window up or simply driven away. He was 69 years old at the time.

Zale, now 71, isn’t eligible for parole until 2041.