A man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a fatal shooting outside the Bull Pen bar in Safford is entitled to a new trial, according to the Arizona Court of Appeals Division II.
The judges ruled that the trial judge erred when he didn’t allow Salih Abdul-Haqq Zaid’s attorneys to present evidence about the victim’s reputation for violence.
The Graham County Attorney’s Office does intend to re-try the case.
According to court documents, Zaid went to the Bull Pen in April 2017 and met the victim, Jared Garcia, and two friends of Garcia’s. During the evening, the men argued over “racially charged topics,” but kept reconciling. At one point, Garcia punched Zaid in the face and at another point, Zaid poured a beer on the ground, caused another beer bottle to fall and and break.
Zaid left the bar, but came back. He was ushered outside by one of Garcia’s friends and Garcia followed, according to court documents.
“After a brief encounter at Zaid’s truck, Zaid shot Garcia with a rifle that had been in the truck. Zaid drove away from the scene and was arrested later that night. Garcia died from the gunshot wound.”
Zaid was charged with first-degree murder and several other offenses related to the shooting, but at the end of the 13-day trial, the jury convicted Zaid of manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault, endangerment, disorderly conduct with a weapon and unlawful discharge of a weapon.
Zaid received 15 years for manslaughter and the rest of his sentences were run concurrently, or at the same time.