Zeigler, Part XXI: Legal Consequences of the false arrest report and the lies told by Detective Frye under oath? We have to go back to the initial trial when Mr. Zeigler was defended by Mr. Ralph V. Hadley, III.
Mr. Hadley started the Zeigler trial from the assumption that the documents he had received were correct. His private investigator, Gene Anan, who checked the facts in the case could not find a Robert Foster. Detective Frye continuously told the defense that he did not know a Robert Foster. He even stated so on the stand and that there had just been a typographical error in the arrest report. Therefore, Hadley and the rest of the Zeigler defense team relied on the state’s assertions that: Robert Foster did not exist, that Frye had not spoken to a man named Robert Foster and, that therefore there was no involvement of a man named Robert Foster in the Zeigler case. Frye signed a new arrest report dated March 26, 1976 leaving out any information about a man called Robert Foster.
If Hadley had evidence that Robert Foster did exist, he would have undermined the credibility of one of the state’s own witnesses. The state has an obligation under Brady v. Maryland to disclose any favourable evidence even if that meant it could impeach their own witnesses.
If the truth had come out at trial that Robert Foster did exist it would have impeached the testimony of Detective Frye. He was untruthful during his investigation in which he intentionally held back information that placed another man at the scene of the crime. Also, if Robert Foster was really supposedly Felton Thomas, the latter’s testimony would have been impeached as well for he never mentioned on the stand that indeed, he was the man meant by Det. Frye.
But it gets worse.
Robert Foster was not a bystander. In the article by Jean Gonzalez, you can read that Foster “has a criminal history in North Carolina that includes several different traffic misdemeanors, but also two charges of assault against women, felony larceny, escape from prison, breaking and entering, and armed robbery. In Florida, he spent two years in prison for aggravated battery and in 2007 began a three-year sentence for possession of cocaine.” Moreover, Foster is believed to be “the man who tried to rob the Gulf station was Foster, and that it is too coincidental that the robbery would occur so soon before the events at the furniture store across the street, and, even more coincidental, the officer who went to the Gulf station was Thompson and he never made a police report of the incident.” Chief Thompson’s full report has been posted on DCC.
What does this mean?
It means that a man with a known criminal past was near the scene of the crime. Add to that the concealment by both Det. Frye and Chief Thompson and the defense could easily have established that the investigation was incomplete and that leads where not properly investigated. It also would have supported Mr. Zeigler when he stated that he felt his family store was being robbed by several armed robbers during the night of December 24th, 1975, and that he and his family interrupted them.
All the above (including the information in my two previous posts) would have created reasonable doubt.
the crimes happened on December 24, 1975
the first arrest report mentioning Robert Foster is dated December 29, 1975
the second arrest report without any mention of Robert Foster is dated March 26, 1976
the deposition of Det. Frye in which he claims a typographical error is dated April 23, 1976.
The motion has been filed. Now we wait, again.