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Missoula man gets life in prison for fatal shooting

July 12, 2021 GMT

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Missoula man has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting and killing an acquaintance in May 2020.

Zakai Houck, 21, pleaded guilty in March to deliberate homicide for shooting Jonathan Wallack in the head in a vehicle and leaving him critically injured in the road southwest of Missoula.

A homeowner spotted Wallack, 19, in the road. He died five days later.

District Court Judge Jason Marks sentenced Houck on Friday after hearing from the families on both sides of the case, the Missoulian reported.

The victim’s mother, Kimberly Wallack, called Houck a “cold-blooded murderer,” and alsdo asked for restitution for lost wages due to panic attacks that made her unable to work after her son’s death. Marks ordered nearly $23,000 in restitution for her.


Houck’s father, sister and grandmother testified about the difficult home life Houck had growing up, including drug use and domestic violence by his parents. Houck apologized for his “tremendous mistake.”

Marks told Houck society had failed him, but said the life sentence takes into account the seriousness of the offense.

“I hope you’re able to get the help you need,” Marks added.