Wed, April 08

Camp Verde man convicted in 2018 death on SR 260
Etienne struck and killed Jesus Zazueta; faces max of 25 years in prison

Jesse Etienne

Jesse Etienne

CAMP VERDE — A 21-year-old Camp Verde man was convicted Friday by a jury of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of a pedestrian, according to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office.

Jesse Michael Etienne's charges stem from the July 10, 2018, death of Jesus Zazueta, 31.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said Etienne was driving at a high rate of speed and struck Zazueta on State Route 260 in the Verde Village area, near Western Drive.

His charges, at the time of his arrest, also included drug paraphernalia-possession or use and two DUI charges — one for drugs and another for alcohol. DPS said Etienne was driving a BMW passenger vehicle westbound. Zazueta died at the scene, and Etienne was injured when the BMW then slid into a ravine.

Etienne had to be airlifted from the scene of the wreck and received medical treatment before he could be booked into Coconino County Jail.

A Cottonwood police officer, according to court documents, observed a vehicle traveling at 107 miles per hour in a posted 55 mph zone just prior to the crash.

Etienne then entered a posted 45 mph zone traveling at over 100 miles per hour, running a red light at the intersection of Western Road, striking Zazueta in the crosswalk and causing fatal injuries, the documents state.

Etienne's vehicle then rolled several times and came to rest approximately a quarter mile from the intersection where he struck the pedestrian. The victim’s body was located near Jesse Etienne’s vehicle.

On the first day of his murder trial, prior to jury selection, Jesse Etienne pled “no contest” to the charges of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, both of which are class 6 felonies.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk emphasized her gratitude to the jury and the Cottonwood Police Department for their work.

"I’d especially like to thank Trooper Humphrey from the Regional Advanced Collision Team of Arizona Department of Public Safety for his testimony, and his expert training, experience and knowledge that was so crucial to helping the jury understand the case,” Polk said in a statement.

Etienne is facing a minimum sentence of 16 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections because he was on felony probation at the time he committed this offense.

He is facing a possible maximum sentence of 25 years. Sentencing is set for March 17 at 11 a.m. in the Yavapai County Superior courtroom of Michael R. Bluff in Division 7.

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