Zeigler, Part X

By request, the DNA report that exonerates Zeigler.

Now will you believe Tommy?

To be continued…


  1. Your first item showed DNA could free a 1984 suspect, and yet Tommy’s case clearly showing DNA evidence exonerating him does not seem to budge the Florida judicial system. Why? His team sought further DNA studies but these were denied. There’s a terrible ‘double standard’ in the USA today regarding DNA evidence, when some prosecutorial teams dismiss such evidence without a glance. How can certain states ignore this? What can be done about Tommy? He was telling the truth all along!

  2. Hi Vicki,

    You mentioned “Your first item showed DNA could free a 1984 suspect” but I think there is a misunderstanding here. The post you refer to is about a suspect police had their eyes on in 1984 but, they could not connect him to the crime scene. They have other evidence against this man but with a DNA analysis they solidified their case. This man will not be freed. Is that the case you refer to? If not, let me know.

    Your comment is an excellent question. There are ways open but the road is a very unfriendly one. For some guidance we should look at the cases of Hank Skinner and Cameron Todd Willingham.

    At the heart of these cases, as well as Tommy’s, is the question whether in old cases the prisoner has a right to ask for DNA testing on preserved evidence. The road depends on how that question is phrased. Is the prisoner simply seeking DNA testing of evidence OR is the prisoner demanding to be released from prison. An effort to be set free typically would be presented as a habeas corpus case while an effort only to obtain testing could be a civil rights case. The proper route for seeking testing becomes less clear when a prisoner wants to obtain DNA testing in order to be freed from prison. This is where we see a parrallel between these three cases. I wrote about this in the post “DNA, a civil right?” (http://www.defrostingcoldcases.com/forensics/dna-a-civil-right)

    The procedure in the Skinner case has been described by Mark Bennett (http://blog.bennettandbennett.com/2010/03/procedure-geek-the-skinner-case.html) and shows you the difficulties.

    The differences between these cases is of course that Willingham has already been executed despite forensic arson detection reports supporting his claims of innocence, Skinner is like Zeigler on death row but in Texas and, Skinner had recently been served a death warrant whereas Zeigler has not.

    A word on Willingham, why did I mention him here since his case is about forensic arson detection? Right before his execution, his team tried to get the evidence on the table but nobody would look at it. Now, Texas has initiated a committee to look into his case. When they finally do examine his case, we will have some more guidelines, I hope, about what to do with old cases where we cannot get justice anymore in the courts and are in the final phase of pleading for executive clemency right before an execution. Again, Willingham’s case is from Texas but still, it is worth following to pick up the arguments and the train of thought.

    What can we at DCC contribute? What we can do is to get the information out, to get more people to read about this case, and hopefully, these people will support us once we reach the Governor’s desk and demand clear answers. The fact that the Zeigler case is so old warrants that we get the information out again and that is why I alerted people to the link on Philip Finch’s website for a free download of the book “Fatal Flaw.” And now, in this modern age, it is good to get the DNA reports on the web and out in the open so people can read it for themselves. This way we can avoid a lot of the “you are biased” issues and get a more objective discussion about Tommy’s case.

    What has to be done specifically in Florida to get the case moving? That is a question for Tommy’s legal defense team!

    Thank you for your support and for visiting DCC again. I hope this answer helps. Please give Tommy my best and tell him, his series is the best read on DCC and has attracted thousands of readers.


    P.S.: a clear ruling by the United States Supreme Court would give guidance and clarity to all prisoners seeking DNA testing. For this, you have to follow the Hank Skinner case.

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