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Trial set for man held in Howell road rage shooting

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Howell — A man charged with fatally shooting another motorist in a road rage incident will go on trial for open murder March 2, a Livingston Circuit judge ordered Friday.

Martin Edward Zale, 69, is charged in the Sept. 2 slaying of Derek Flemming, 43, after Flemming got out of his car at a traffic light in Genoa Township and approached Zale’s vehicle on foot.

In a preliminary exam last month, Flemming’s wife, Amy, testified she and her husband were leaving Howell on Grand River Avenue about 3:30 p.m. on their way to pick up their children at school when a pickup truck began driving erratically behind them. The truck passed them and swerved in front of them and slammed on its brakes, she said.

Flemming said she saw her husband walk up to the truck’s window and ask “What’s your problem” and then heard a “pop” sound and saw her husband drop to the ground “like a marionette puppet having its strings cut.” Flemming died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Zale was arrested at the scene.

Judge Miriam Cavanaugh scheduled a Feb. 13 evidentiary hearing and a final pre-trial settlement conference for Feb. 27.

Zale remains in the Livingston County Jail without bond.

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