On Monday July 18, 2016 Judge Whitehead denied William Thomas Zeigler’s latest DNA request. It asked for testing of evidence with modern technology with emphasis on touch DNA.
From the Orlando Sentinel: “In the 30-page ruling, Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead held that Zeigler’s petition for DNA testing was too similar to others that he’s made before, and that the potential discoveries wouldn’t be great enough to rule him out as the perpetrator.
“Having carefully listened to the testimony presented at the evidentiary hearing and argument from the parties, the Court finds the authenticity of the DNA is questionable because it may be contaminated based on a lack of protective equipment when it was handled and/or improper storage,” the judge wrote.”
In December 1975, a quadruple murder took place in the Zeigler Furniture Store in Wintergarden, Florida. The victims were Charles Mays, Virginia and Perry Edwards (Zeigler’s parents-in-law), and Eunice Edwards-Zeigler (Zeigler’s wife). This case is discussed in detail on my blog. All those posts can be found here.
In the past (almost) 40 years, many appeals were filed by the defense to point out prosecutorial misconduct, police lying on the stand, withheld evidence, and forensic evidence pointing to other explanations than what the state offered when it charged William Thomas Zeigler with quadruple murder that sent him to death row.
Each time the consequences of the misconduct were dismissed as either procedurally barred, or that the complaint was filed too late, or that on its own this one single complaint would not have changed the opinion of the jury. And now, it is too similar to what has been filed before. We will see. As soon as I have read the ruling I will post more. For now, I have a heavy heart.