21-Year-Old Accused Of Fatal Road Rage Shooting In Tulsa On Trial

Zavaleta is charged with first-degree murder for following Shantel Jones into an Auto Zone parking lot near 51st and Peoria, then shooting and killing her.

Monday, December 4th 2023, 10:31 pm

By: News On 6


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A man accused of shooting a Tulsa woman to death during a fit of road rage is now on trial.

In February, a Tulsa County judge ruled that there was enough evidence to order Julian Zavaleta, 21, to stand trial for the deadly shooting.

Zavaleta is charged with first-degree murder for following Shantel Jones into an Auto Zone parking lot near 51st and Peoria, then shooting and killing her.

On day one of the trial, after prosecutors made their opening statements, 3 eyewitnesses testified. They all had similar accounts and said they saw Zavaleta use his vehicle to block the victim's car, then pointed a gun out his window and shot her.

The first eyewitness said he was walking out of AutoZone when the victim pulled up right next to him.

He said he was just feet away and saw the victim get out of her car and start walking toward Zavaleta’s vehicle, yelling, but said that’s when he saw Zavaleta point a gun out of his car and shoot the victim once, then speed off.

The second witness said she was pulling out of the parking lot when the two drivers raced into the lot next to her. She testified she saw Zavaleta holding a gun up as he was driving into the lot behind the victim.

The third witness said he saw the road rage incident start on Peoria, then watched the suspect and victim pull into the lot and saw the shooting.

All three eyewitnesses said the victim only made it a couple of steps from her car before she was shot, and she didn’t have any weapons.

Prosecutors also showed the jury surveillance video from Autozone, which shows all three witnesses, the victim, and the suspect during the shooting.

Police said less than an hour after the shooting, Zavaleta called and turned himself in.

Zavaleta's attorney says Zavaleta acted in self-defense because he felt threatened by the victim.

He says the victim hit Zavaleta's car with her car, then charged at Zavaleta in the parking lot and made a death threat.

“Julian had to act reasonably to defend himself from a threat posed by an individual in our society,” said Zavaleta’s attorney, Max Deane.

Police also said Zavaleta gave the gun to family members after the shooting before turning himself in.

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