Detectives testify in murder-for-hire trial of duo accused of killing Philadelphia teacher

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Cops testify in murder trial of duo accused of killing teacher
Detectives testify in murder-for-hire trial of duo accused of killing Philadelphia teacher

NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It's been nearly a year since popular Philadelphia educator Rachel King was shot to death in Cheltenham in front of her 11-year-old son.

The trial of defendants -- 34-year-old Zakkee Alhakim and 35-year-old Julie Jean -- began Monday. Both stand accused of orchestrating and carrying out her murder. Alhakim is the accused gunman.

King, 35, was killed on April 11, 2023, while waiting in a Cheltenham drive-thru with her 11-year-old son Jalen in the backseat.

READ MORE: 'Cold-blooded killing': 2 charged in murder of mother shot in Dunkin' drive-thru

On Wednesday, prosecutors, led by District Attorney Kevin Steele, called detectives to the stand.

Zakkee Alhakim / Julie Jean

The detectives walked jurors through interviews with both defendants. Additionally, they used the defendants' cell phone data to link them together and to tie the alleged shooter to the scene. That includes cash apps that show transactions between the duo that prosecutors say were used to buy the gun and vehicle used in the crime.

Prosecutors also showed Alhakim was following news stories the day of the crime, and gunshot residue in the vehicle used was also linked to Alhakim.

READ MORE: Family of teacher shot, killed in Dunkin' drive-thru speaks to Action News

Prosecutors say Alhakim was hired by Jean to commit the murder. She was reportedly jealous of King and having an affair with King's boyfriend, William Hayes.

On Tuesday, Hayes testified he had a sexual relationship with Jean but ended it, and she refused to accept it. Hayes testified he had to file a protection from abuse order against her.

Rachel King

Both Alhakim and Jean's attorneys have been critical of the evidence prosecutors have against them.

Jean's attorney, Shaka Johnson, worked to distance his client from Alhakim, and he also questioned if Hayes had really ended the relationship with his client.

To date, the trial has been emotional.

King's father, Reverend Allen King Jr., said the family decided to wear orange in solidarity with his daughter's favorite color.

He spoke to Action News about how difficult it was in court on Tuesday when a pre-recorded video of King's 11-year-old son Jalen played in court, recounting seeing the shooter approach and shoot his mom:

"To hear and to see what my grandson went through -- that leveled me. That took everything in me to maintain what little composure I've had," King said.

The trial resumes on Thursday at 9 a.m. when the prosecution is expected to wrap up its testimony.

Neither defendant is expected to take the stand. They both face a list of charges including 1st degree murder and conspiracy.