As 69 year-old Martin Edward Zale sits in a Livingston County jail awaiting a pre-trial hearing for killing another motorist in what is being described as a road rage incident, prosecutors are working to find a way to convince a jury that he is guilty of open murder.

The Howell man was formally charged on Thursday in the death of 43 year-old Derek Flemming. is reporting that prosecutors outlined some details of the shooting in a press conference after the charges were filed.

William Valliencourt says Flemming was shot in the face after getting out of his car and confronting Zale in stopped traffic on Grand River Avenue near Chilson Road.  Flemming was unarmed but Zale had a concealed weapons permit.

The incident, according to Valliencourt, followed several miles of alleged erratic driving on the part of Zale, who is described as having cut Flemming off several times and prevented him from passing.

While gun-rights supporters say Zale was within his rights to use his weapon if he felt threatened, the Livingston County Prosecutor is downplaying that aspect of the story.

"This is not a case about guns for CPL holders," he said.  "I fully support the right of individuals to keep and possess firearms....but when they misuse those weapons that it becomes a problem."

Valliencourt said the law is clear--you have to believe you are in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm to claim self-defense.  He does not believe that was the case.

He admits, though, the burden of proving it will be on the prosecution, and that it could be a tough sell, depending on make-up of the jury.

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