Jury didn’t even need an hour to convict in ‘cold-blooded’ Dunkin’ drive-thru murder of teacher


Zakkee Steven Alhakim, Rachel King, Julie Jean

Zakkee Steven Alhakim, Rachel King, Julie Jean (Image of King via Facebook; images of suspects Montgomery County DA)

A Pennsylvania jury didn’t even need an hour on Thursday to find two defendants guilty of murdering a Philadelphia elementary school teacher in front of her 11-year-old son in a Dunkin’ drive-thru under a year ago.

Rachel King was just 35 years old on April 11, 2023, when she was shot multiple times and killed as she sat in the driver’s seat of her Ford Edge and as her son, identified by family as Jalen, sat in the back seat of the car outside the Cheltenham Township Dunkin’ location.

From the start, Montgomery County investigators were operating under the theory that this was a “targeted murder” — and it didn’t take long for them to identify Zakkee Steven Alhakim, 34, and Julie Jean, 35, as the suspects. Authorities said that they soon learned that the “cold-blooded killing” was a murder-for-hire that Jean orchestrated out of jealousy.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele revealed that Alhakim, the gunman, is a cousin of a man who fathered Jean’s three children. Jean, Steele said, had an affair with King’s longtime boyfriend William Hayes and when that affair ended, she harassed both King and Hayes in texts and calls and plotted to kill the victim with Alkahim’s help.

“This cold-blooded killing of Rachel King was a targeted murder of an innocent person, planned by these two defendants and horrifically carried out in front of King’s son,” DA Steele said. “It is a tragic killing of a good person, all because of an ended affair.”

An aerial view of the Dunkin' drive-thru scene where Rachel King was shot and killed.

An aerial view of the Dunkin’ drive-thru scene where Rachel King was shot and killed. (Fox 29/screengrab)

Prosecutors said significant video evidence showed that Alhakim watched King outside her home days before the murder, followed her to the Dunkin’ drive-thru in a Mercury Sable on the day of the murder, walked up to King’s window, and then pulled the trigger multiple times, killing her.

The Mercury Sable, investigators said, was just one piece of evidence that sealed the defendants’ fates: Jean bought the car in her name with Alhakim “less than two weeks before the murder.”

Worse yet for the defendants, cell phone evidence showed Alhakim and Jean planned the shooting over a period of several weeks, prosecutors said.

Rachel King murder suspect’s vehicle (Montgomery County DA)

“Very soon after Jean saved Alhakim’s contact info, Alhakim saved a screen capture to his phone of a Google map of the victim’s apartment complex, with a pin marking King’s exact residence and a red arrow showing a route to travel directly to the victim’s residence,” prosecutors said. “Also of note on Alhakim’s phone were two photographs. One was the victim’s photo displayed on a cellphone held by a female, believed to be Jean. The photo was taken on Feb. 25, 2023, at 2:17 p.m., less than 30 minutes after Alhakim shared his real-time location with Jean for them to meet up.”

Authorities said Jean’s last-ditch effort to delete incriminating text messages — “just 13 minutes prior” to being interviewed by cops the day after the murder —  didn’t succeed either.

Rachel King’s brother Allen King III told Law&Crime after the shooting that his sister, a pastor’s daughter, taught for a decade at Grover Cleveland Elementary Schools. He called for the defendants to face the death penalty, citing the heinous nature of the case.

“This is what the death penalty was made for,” he said.

Two months before Rachel King’s murder, however, Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) announced that he would follow the policy of his gubernatorial predecessor and would not resume executions. A moratorium on the death penalty has been in place in Pennsylvania for nearly a decade — and the ACLU said that the commonwealth hasn’t executed anyone since 1999, the end of the 20th century.

On Thursday, both Jean and Alhakim were found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy — and it didn’t take long for the jury to reach the result that led to life sentences.

“The jury took less than an hour to find Julie Jean and Zakkee Alhakim GUILTY of First-Degree Murder and Conspiracy in the killing of Rachel King,” the DA’s office said.

While Jean’s attorney has reportedly said the defense will appeal, claiming the “evidence just wasn’t there,” King’s family said that justice was served.

King’s son Jalen said “I feel better” after family members told him that Jean and Alhakim would be behind bars for life, the boy’s aunt Ahyana King reportedly said.

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