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Zavala sentenced to 34 years in prison for I-19 shooting

Guilty on all three counts including second-degree murder
2019-07-01 I-19 Killing- Marilyn and daughter.jpg
Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 19:09:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The man who shot into a car on I-19, killing Marilynn Pacheco, and injured another man and his child will spend 34 years in prison.

His sentencing is divided among three counts:

  • Second-Degree Murder
    • 20 years in the Department of Corrections (DOC), 991 days credit, flat time
  • Domestic Violence
    • Seven years in DOC
  • Aggravated Assault (x2)
    • Seven years in DOC

Back in June 2019, Mateo Zavala fired shots into a car and killed Marilynn Pacheco. Pacheco died of her injuries, but the other two people in the car lived.

RELATED: I-19 Killing - Mother mourns daughter shot to death

Zavala pleaded guilty to the above charges on Monday, January 31. A judge handed down his sentence Thursday, March 17.

It was a packed court room for Zavala's sentencing. Pacheco's mother was there as Zavala learned his sentence and says the time he'll spend in prison won't make up for the time she lost with her daughter.

"It seems like the days that are hardest is when I see more signs from her," said Marilynn Pachecho's mother, Susan Stemper.

During sentencing, the judge addressed Zavala. He'd had a romantic relationship with Pacheco before the shooting. The judge's words struck a chord with Stemper.

"He showed his loved ones one side of him but he showed Marilynn the other side of him and she called him a monster," said Stemper.

After court the family went to Children's Memorial Park where Pacheco's name is engraved on a wall. They want to honor her memory by continuing to raise awareness about domestic violence.

RELATED: Domestic Violence Resources in Southern Arizona

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Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Born and raised in Southern California, Caleb has always had an affinity for creative collaborations. After earning his bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing caleb.fernandez@kgun9.com or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Denelle Confair is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Denelle is proud to call Southern Arizona home. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good.
Share your story ideas and important issues with Denelle by emailing denelle.confair@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, and Twitter.