UNITED STATES: A 23-year-old Lincoln man accused of fatally shooting a Zimbabwean national over a car crash in December has pleaded not guilty.
Karsen Rezac was set for arraignment last Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony, but he instead filed a written not-guilty plea waiving his appearance.
He hasn’t yet been set for trial.
In an affidavit for Rezac’s arrest, police accused him of firing several shots into the driver’s side door of a Jeep Patriot, fatally wounding Kupo Mleya, after Rezac collided with Mleya’s Jeep while backing out of his driveway near 20th and Washington streets late December 23.
Police found Mleya, 38, in the driver’s seat of his Jeep with critical gunshot wounds. He died at the scene.
The two lived a block apart on Washington Street but didn’t know each other.
Police said they found Rezac’s GMC Yukon with damage to the passenger side, consistent with debris found at the scene, and a rear passenger window had been damaged by gunshots.
They arrested him later that morning.
Mleya emigrated to the U.S. to attend school and had worked at the Lincoln bike shop Cycle Works, at Frontier Harley-Davidson and as a groundskeeper at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was a student in the late 2010s.
His late father, Brig. Gen. Fakazi Mleya, was declared a national hero.