Man Indicted In Daylight Gas Station Shooting

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A man has been charged in the fatal shooting of a man at point-blank range in a busy shopping district.

John F. Zaffino, 36, of Chippewa Township, pleaded innocent Thursday in Akron Municipal Court to aggravated murder. He is being held at the Summit County Jail on a $10 million cash bond.

Zaffino fought with Jeff Zack a few months before his death, according to Zaffino's ex-wife. He also owns a Ninja-style motorcycle -- the same type of bike witnesses say sped away from the murder scene.

"He categorically denies any involvement in this man's homicide," said Zaffino's attorney, Larry Whitney.

Police said Zaffino was the black-clad motorcyclist who shot Zack in June 2001 in broad daylight as Zack sat in his Ford Explorer at a gas pump at B.J.'s Wholesale Club.

Zack was left slumped over his steering wheel -- dead from a single shot to the head.

Akron detectives, who arrested Zaffino on Wednesday, say he did not act alone -- and Zack's murder case remains open. They declined to discuss a motive for the shooting, except to say it involved a "personal" dispute.

Zaffino's ex-wife, Christine Todaro, recalled her ex-husband telling her about getting into a fight with Zack a few months before Zack's death.

"He felt I might be in danger because of the fight they got into," said Todaro, who has talked to detectives investigating Zack's murder. "He was concerned for me."

A resident of suburban Stow, Zack spoke five languages and had dual citizenship with Israel.

Zack was convicted in 1981 for his part in a Phoenix escort agency for using minors as prostitutes. He struck a plea deal and served 18 months probation.

He had a 1996 conviction for kissing a teen-age clerk in a hardware store in Stow.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)