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Man accused of killing his estranged wife’s fiance in a Salem parking lot enters plea, found guilty

Zane Christian was charged with killing Rico Turner on Nov. 9, 2020

A Christiansburg charged in a deadly Salem shooting pleaded no contest on Wednesday.

SALEM, Va. – A Christiansburg man who shot and killed another man in Salem will learn how long he’ll spend in prison for his crimes early next year.

On Thursday, Zane Christian appeared in Salem Circuit Court and entered pleas of no contest to second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Christian charges are related to the series of events on Nov. 9, 2020, when Christian shot and killed 27-year-old Rico Turner at the Lakeside Shopping Center parking lot in Salem.

During a March 2021 hearing, Christian’s estranged wife, Emily Christian, testified that she and Christian had a custody hearing that resulted in his child support payments increasing one week before the shooting happened.

[Family and friends grieve the loss of Rico Turner, murdered by fiancee’s estranged husband]

In her testimony during that hearing, Emily Christian said that Rico Turner, her fiance, had been at custody exchanges before and she chose that spot because they had met there before and it was a public place.

Emily Christian told the court that she parked next to Zane Christian and he told her to grab their children from his car. She said he then started keying her car when Turner got out and pushed Christian. At this point, she said the children were still in Christian’s car.

“He got up and he pulled a gun out of the waistband of his pants and started shooting Rico and start walking towards him, and then went over to him as he continued to shoot him,” said Emily Christian.

She also said that she grabbed her daughter out of the backseat before Christian drove away and remained there until the police arrived.

Zane Christian was arrested the next morning in Ravenswood, West Virginia, about three and a half hours away from Salem.

Between shooting Turner and getting arrested in West Virginia, authorities said that Christian carjacked a person in Blacksburg.

In Montgomery County Circuit Court, he’s charged with carjacking, grand larceny and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Online court records he’s scheduled to enter a plea for those three charges on Dec. 13, 2021.

As for his charges in Salem, following a summary of the evidence by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Pollard the court found Christian guilty and set a sentencing date of January 27, 2022.

About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.