Prosecutors allege Timothy Teasley killed store clerk for reporting girlfriend for shoplifting

Testimony continues Friday in the Rapides Parish Courthouse
Murder trial begins for Timothy Teasley
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Rapides Parish prosecutors believe a Feb. 14, 2017, deadly shooting, in which a convenience store clerk was killed and another clerk was shot at, stemmed from an incident two weeks before when Timothy Teasley’s girlfriend was reported for shoplifting. The shooting happened at Chi-Town Gas & Grocery on Third Street around 10 p.m. Thair Zidan, 27, of Alexandria, died at the store.

Teasley, 30, of Alexandria, has pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity.” Teasley’s competency to stand trial has been a matter that has been discussed over the years. In April, his public defender, Chad Guillot, notified the court that Teasley had returned from the East Louisiana State Hospital after being ordered there a year before. At the time, three doctors could not come to a consensus on his mental health status. In July, Judge Chris Hazel found Teasley competent to stand trial during a status conference following another sanity hearing.

Prosecutors believe Teasley knew exactly what he was doing when they said he killed Zidan.

“The defendant knew right from wrong at the time he did it,” said Assistant District Attorney Brian Cespiva.

Cespiva also elaborated on the State’s theory that the shooting happened as a result of the earlier shoplifting allegation.

“Thair didn’t know that by seeking to enforce the law, he signed his own death warrant,” he told the jury.

Guillot reminded the jury that it was their “job” to determine if Teasley was insane when the crime was allegedly committed.

“It’s your job to determine if that’s a fact or not,” he said. “Did we prove insanity?”

He also apologized to the jury for an earlier outburst from Teasley in which he was removed briefly from the courtroom.

We learned from testimony by witnesses called for the State that multiple people were inside the convenience store when the shooting occurred, including a woman who was at the register buying a drink and another who was joined by her husband and daughter to buy candy and champagne for Valentine’s Day. The witness who was at the register told the jury that she was in “shock” when the shooting started.

“I was almost done with my transaction and I heard the guy come in and started shooting,” she said.

She told the jury that she could not get a good look at the shooter when she ran to hide, but knew he was Black and noted his clothing was “baggy.”

The witness who was with her family at the time of the shooting said she noticed the man she identified as Teasley outside the store before he came in and started shooting.

“I saw him at the door, he hesitated like he wouldn’t come in,” she said.

She told the jury that she was not exactly sure what was happening when the gunshots started.

“He comes in, I heard a gunshot,” she said. “I have never been around a gun before. I thought it was a firecracker.”

She ran to the back of the store with her family and the woman who was at the front by the register. She cried as she testified about her husband covering the women and the child as the bullets rang out. This witness was able to pick Teasley out of a line-up at the Alexandria Police Department.

Some of the most impactful testimony came from Lorans Alzubi, the other clerk working at Chi-Town Gas & Grocery the night Zidan was killed. He told the jury that he had recently moved to the United States and had only been working at the store for about three weeks when the shooting happened.

“We were working behind the register trying to restock. I walked out and saw someone point up his gun and start shooting,” said Alzubi, who no longer lives in Louisiana now. Prosecutors said Teasley had a revolver.

Alzubi said he ran for the backroom to hide.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I couldn’t understand what was going on.”

Alzubi was able to point Teasley out in court, identifying him by a “scar” on his face. Alzubi was one of a handful of people who called 911 that night.

“I found Thair, he was lying down,” he said. “I went to the front door and closed it and called 911. I tried to keep him alive.”

Alzubi said he did not know Teasley and never met him before that night.

While Alzubi said he did not see this part, prosecutors said they had evidence they would present that a badly wounded Zidan managed to crawl to a gun behind the register and shoot back at Teasley, striking him in the back, before dying at the store.

Two officers with the Alexandria Police Department recalled how Teasley was tracked down after being identified as a suspect in the shooting. Teasley was ultimately spotted at his girlfriend’s home on West Sandy Bayou before being taken into custody “by force.” One officer said Teasley had the gun in his pants.

Detective Jason Mouilliere, who was on call the night of the shooting, played part of the interview he conducted with Teasley when he was in custody at APD. Teasley refused to sign the waiver of rights forms, repeatedly claiming he was not under arrest and he is “going home.”

Police said the video from the store that night shows Teasley walking into the store, saying nothing and starting to shoot. Zidan was hit in the chest but crawled to a gun behind the register before he died and shot back, hitting Teasley in the chest.

Crime Scene Supervisor Det. Chris Fonville later testified they recovered a .38 caliber revolver from Teasley and a .45 caliber handgun from Zidan, along with seven projectiles collected at the scene. There were eight recovered casings, meaning Zidan fired the gun eight times. One bullet was recovered from Zidan.

Dr. Christopher Tape, a forensic pathologist with the North Louisiana Crime Lab, conducted the autopsy on Zidan. He testified that the bullet went through Zidan’s lungs and heart. He determined Zidan’s death to be a homicide.

In the interview video, Teasley insisted the wound on his back was the result of a misunderstanding with a dog and was actually a dog bite. However, William Rose, an EMT paramedic who treated Teasley the night of the shooting, testified that the wound was the result of a gunshot. He noted there were two other wounds, one on Teasley’s arm and to his chest, that appeared to be from a dog.

APD Sergeant Michael Stroud, who was a detective working the crime scene the night of the shooting, testified that after watching video from the store, he noticed the jacket Teasley was wearing in the video had been turned inside out when he was apprehended later that night. He testified that, in his experience in law enforcement, that action often happens to evade detection or capture.

The clothing was presented to the jury, including the camouflage hat, which a customer in the store the night of the shooting had previously testified Teasley was wearing when she saw him at the door of the store before the shooting.

Testimony will continue Friday. Teasley is represented by public defender Chad Guillot and Randall Hayes. Prosecutors Brian Cespiva and Johnny Giordano are prosecuting. The case is being heard by Judge Chris Hazel.

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