State officials in Michigan are asking for the pension of a Rochester Hills man convicted of shooting at a Black teen who stopped to ask for directions last year to help cover the cost of his prison stay.
Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, was caught on video aiming his shotgun at 14-year-old Brennan Walker before pulling the trigger. In November, a judge sentenced Zeigler to four to 10 years in prison for the near-deadly assault. Now the the state is going after his benefits.
According to Click on Detroit, it costs $95 a day, or about $35,000 per year, to house an inmate. Zeigler receives a pension of just under $4,000, which his wife depends on, each month from the city of Detroit, and officials are looking to get their hands on as much of his cash as they can.
The station reports that the act “requires the attorney general to seek reimbursement when he or she believes there is good cause to believe a prisoner is due assets that may be used toward the cost of care.” Officials may try to seize the pension under the State Correctional Facilities Act of 1935, which allows for reimbursement to the state for expenses incurred by certain inmates.
The reimbursement cap is 90 percent. If approved, Zeigler’s wife would be left with about $$380 a month.
Walker knocked on the Zeigler’s door in April after missing the bus and getting lost on his walk to school. Zeigler’s wife answered and falsely accused the teen of trying to rob her.
“I knocked on the door, stepped back, knocked, stepped back again, and then a lady came downstairs yelling at me,” Walker told NBC-affiliate WDIV earlier this year. The ninth-grader said Ziegler’s wife picked up the phone and called police claiming “a Black male was trying to break into” her Rochester Hills home.
That’s when Zeigler came running downstairs with a shotgun in hand. As the teen fled to safety, the former firefighter fired off a round, as seen in home surveillance footage. He missed.
In court, Zeigler claimed he accidentally slipped while chasing Walker, causing the gun to off.
A judge is expected to make a decision on the pension matter later this month.