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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2014

Zielinski takes stand in own murder trial

Swanton Twp. man accused of shooting estranged wife; closing arguments tomorrow


A Swanton Township man on trial for the murder of his estranged wife’s boyfriend took the stand this morning, admitting he fatally shot her boyfriend but claiming the man he found in bed with his wife had stabbed him in the leg.

“I did not go up there planning to kill anyone,” David Zielinski told the jury.

Mr. Zielinski, 34, of 3859 Berkey Southern Rd., is charged with aggravated murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and aggravated burglary for a July 14 incident in which he allegedly climbed into a window at the West Central Avenue home of his now ex-wife Amber Hayes, shot Michael Jackson, 20, of Toledo to death, and then left with Ms. Hayes in her car, shooting at her as she drove off to escape from him.

Mr. Zielinski did not deny his actions that night but contended that Ms. Hayes, who took the stand on Tuesday, had lied about how things happened that night. He insisted he went to the house simply to get Mr. Jackson out of the house.

He said he considered the house his “home,” although he had not stayed there for a couple weeks and knew that Ms. Hayes was seeking a divorce.

Under cross-examination by Ian English, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, Mr. Zielinski said he took a knife and gun with him because he didn’t know what would happen and he wanted to be able to defend himself if Mr. Jackson attacked him.

“I figured it would end peacefully,” he said.

Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, a deputy Lucas County coroner, testified earlier this morning that Mr. Jackson died from multiple gunshot wounds. He was shot six times, she said, including two shots that passed through his heart, killing him.

The defense rested after Mr. Zielinski finished testifying. Judge Ruth Ann Franks sent jurors home for the day, asking that they return at 10 a.m. Thursday for closing arguments.

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