Rachel King murder: 2 charged in fatal shooting of elementary school teacher in Dunkin' drive-thru

Woman who had affair with William Hayes, King's longtime boyfriend, charged in crime

By6abc Digital Staff WPVI logo
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
2 charged in murder of mother shot in Dunkin' drive-thru
Rachel King, a 35-year-old mother and teacher at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Philadelphia, was shot dead on April 11.

CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Authorities in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania have announced the arrests of two people in connection with the killing of a Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania mother.

Zakkee Steven Alhakim, 33, of Philadelphia, and Julie Jean, 34, of Elkins Park, are both charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Rachel King, a 35-year-old mother and teacher at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Philadelphia.

King was shot dead in a Dunkin' drive-thru lane back on April 11.

"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," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. "It is a tragic killing of a good person, all because of an ended affair."

During a press conference on Wednesday, authorities said Alhakim and Jean planned and conspired to murder King, who was the longtime girlfriend of William Hayes.

RELATED: Chicago Public Schools teacher shot, killed while driving in Far South Side shooting

According to investigators, Jean and Hayes had an affair last year, and after Hayes broke it off, Jean continued to text, call and harass both King and Hayes, prompting Hayes to obtain a Protection From Abuse Order against Jean.

On the day of the murder, Alhakim allegedly parked a Mercury Sable a short distance away, then walked to the driver's side of King's Ford Edge and shot her multiple times.

Officers found six 9mm fired cartridge casings at the scene.

Rachel King

King's 11-year-old son was in the backseat of the car at the time. He was not injured.

King's boyfriend William Hayes told ABC Philadelphia affiliate WPVI she was taking her son to violin practice when she was shot.

Tracking down the suspects

Investigators said King was followed from her home by the silver Mercury Sable driven by Alhakim.

Alhakim also allegedly stalked the victim and waited outside of her residence in the days leading up to the murder.

Cell phone evidence determined that Jean added Alhakim's phone number under "Zah" to her contacts in mid-February.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele spoke about the murder of Rachel King during a press conference on April 26, 2023.

Authorities said Alhakim saved a screen capture to his phone of a Google map of the victim's apartment complex. There was a pin marking King's exact residence and a red arrow showing a route to travel directly to the victim's residence.

On Alhakim's phone, there was allegedly a photo of the victim displayed on a cellphone held by a woman now identified as Jean. The photo was reportedly taken on Feb. 25, 2023, at 2:17 p.m., less than 30 minutes after Alhakim allegedly shared his real-time location with Jean for them to meet up.

Minutes later, authorities said a screen capture of a photo montage of Rachel King was saved on Alhakim's phone.

After King's murder, authorities said both Alhakim and Jean tried to delete information from their cell phones, with Jean deleting 787 texts just 13 minutes prior to her interview with detectives on April 12.

The communication was later recovered by law enforcement.

On the day of the murder, authorities said Jean sent Alhakim a message on CashApp with a payment of $5, with the emoji message that is interpreted to mean "link up, message me, no phones, that's it."

Investigators said Alhakim obtained the Mercury Sable on March 30, 2023, less than two weeks before the murder, when Alhakim and Jean went together to buy it at a shop on 61st Street in Philadelphia. The vehicle was purchased in Julie Jean's name.

SEE ALSO: Woman shot, killed at Cheltenham Twp. drive-thru identified; photo released of suspect's vehicle

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said the woman's 11-year-old son was also in the vehicle at the time. He was not injured in the shooting.

Vehicle spotted in Philadelphia

In the hours after King was murdered, Philadelphia police spotted the Mercury Sable.

When officers attempted to stop the Mercury Sable, authorities said the vehicle being driven by Alhakim fled at a high rate of speed until it crashed into a fence on 16th Street.

Alhakim was taken into custody. He was also allegedly involved in an unrelated murder in Philadelphia on April 7.

In the Philadelphia murder, eleven 9mm fired cartridge casings were recovered. The evidence was entered into Montgomery County's new NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) machine, which linked both murders, authorities said.

Jean was later arrested. She is being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility without bail.

Alhakim is currently in custody at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia.

SEE ALSO: Family of teacher shot, killed in Dunkin' drive-thru speaks to Action News

Community in mourning

King was a loving mother who was working toward a master's degree and getting her principal's certificate.

Her school community is still grieving her loss.

"She was one of the best teachers, she did her very best at this school, very best," student Charise Jones said earlier this month.

"We are devastated by the loss of an extraordinary teacher, who spent the last 10 years working with our students and their families," the Mastery Schools said in a statement.

King's brother Allen said the family has been rallying behind her 11-year-old son.

"Getting him the help he needs, getting him in front of a trauma counselor, a child psychiatrist. I can't imagine what's going through his head," he said. "She loved that school, she loved teaching, she loved her students, they loved her back and you could just feel it."