Zeigler, Part XVII

In my previous post “Zeigler, Part XVI“, I referred to the Jellison tape that was conveniently kept from the defense team. It was only recovered in April of 1987, when Zeigler’s lawyers made a Florida Public Records Act request for the files of the State Attorney in Orlando. That’s when they discovered (aside from the “Buried Thompson report”) a tape-recorded telephone interview with Mr. John Jellison.

UPDATE: Scroll down for comments by the deputy sheriff who arrested William Thomas Zeigler!

The interview had been conducted on April 30, 1976, by a state investigator named Mr. Jack Bachman. The tape had been hidden by the State Attorney’s Office, which failed to disclose anything about this tape before the trial and even in answering requests for disclosure in conjunction with Zeigler’s appeals.

Photograph G. Anderson

By request of many concerned lawyers who emailed Vidster, I now publish the entire telephone transcript here on DCC.

When you read this transcript, look at the photograph here as well. On the top you see a picture taken from the balcony floor of the hotel. The Jellisons were staying on the floor below. However, you have a clear view of the back of the furniture store. In the second picture, the photographer is standing behind the gate looking at the hotel. As you can see, both floors are clearly visible. The third is a close-up.

Notes for page 2: John explains that he first saw a police car at the back of the store. A police officer was aiming his gun towards the store over the top of the squad car. Then, they heard shots as they were watching. Then they saw that other police cars had arrived on the scene. He repeats that at the bottom of page 2.

Notes for page 3:Mr. Bachman tries to check whether John is sure about hearing the shooting after the police had arrived. John repeats what he had said before.

Notes for page 4:Mr. Bachman tries again to change John’s testimony at the top of the page then proceeds to tell John that the owner of the furniture store is not just a suspect. He claims that Mr. Zeigler is a killer!

Notes for page 5:Here is the part I had published before. Mr. Bachman tries to change John’s testimony again. He need not talk to John’s mother unless…..“[A]s long as you heard the gunshots after, you know; you saw the police car, that wouldn’t help us a bit. … Not unless, you know, you all get together and decide you heard those gunshots before you saw the police car. In that case, we’d give you a free trip back to Florida.”

Read it here:


  1. I would think the Jellison tape alone is sufficient to grant Tommy Zeigler a new trial. Talk about prosecutorial misconduct! I am afraid that more than one guilty person should be in that Death Row cell in the place of Tommy.

    What a great service you are rendering!

  2. I’m grateful that you’re continuing to bring information to light. I hope it offers some comfort and hope to Tommy and his steadfast supporters.

  3. The CONTENT of the Jellison witness statement decimates the State’s CASE – the CONDUCT of the State’s investigator, clearly suborning perjury, decimates the State’s INTEGRITY! When you couple all of the prosecutorial misconduct, with the obvious judicial bias at both the trial level and the Fla. Sup. Ct. appeal level, you come inescapably to this frightening conclusion: Either the State maliciously prosecuted an innocent man – or Tommy Zeigler is as guilty as hell, & should be executed! There is no middle ground! (That from the deputy sheriff who arrested him – on direct orders from a sheriff up for re-election.)

    If you want to know WHY the State would engage in such criminal conduct, read the case history of H. T. & Harriet Moore, blown up in their home on Christmas Day, 1951 & the killers tracked back to Mr. Zeigler’s home town. Then follow-up by reading the history of Sheriff Buford Pusser of Tenn, in 1973-’74, fighting corruption in a small southern town – he & his wife are targeted for assassination, she is killed – he survives serious injury.

    “Fact is stranger – and a thousand times more thrilling – than fiction”! (Ripley’s “Believe it or Not”) or, as Paul Harvey would say: “Now you know the rest of the story”!

  4. It’s all carrots and no sticks for prosecutors to commit deliberate misconduct. 1976 case law – Imbler v Pachtman - made it illegal to prosecute prosecutorial misconduct. Congress should have overridden it immediately; it makes justice absurdly unequal. Then Van de Kamp v Goldstein gave prosecutors’ supervisors immunity, too. States legislated their own civil immunities; it is now unlawful to “good cop, bad cop,” a bad Florida cop during an investigation – only one interrogator is allowed, and that’s just a slice of the silliness.

    The worst discipline a prosecutor or his supervisor faces is disbarment, and the Bar is so very negligent in addressing their misconduct that the villains are more likely to be struck by lightening.

    Perhaps the fastest way to have both carrots and sticks to address prosecutorial and supervisory misconduct is to challenge the Bar’s income tax exemption. A letter asking the IRS to investigate the Bar’s exemption claim that they protect the public and their members equally may change everything rapidly, because the Bar can’t prove their claim – USA Today just documented their abysmal failure in detail. The Bar would either have to investigate misconduct or fork over a fortune in back taxes.

    If Tommy’s prosecutors are held accountable, Tommy will be freed. So will thousands of other innocents. There’s a history of joint foul play in Orange/Osceola, where Tommy and others were framed, and Brevard/Seminole where Juan Ramos, Wilton Dedge, Bill Dillon and others were framed and where Harry T. and Harriett V. Moore were blown to bits on their Christmas Day wedding anniversary.

    Our governors Executive Orders indicate Florida’s Chief Executives helped the two jurisdictions shuffle court cases back and forth for desired verdicts, even recently. Much will come to light if the Bar is forced to address prosecutorial and supervisory misconduct, so much that Congress may wake up and uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  5. I stumbled across this particular blog post, which begs the question: how does the Jellison tape fit in with Zeigler’s defense? He called the police and claimed there was a robbery and that he had shot Mays; he never claimed the police had arrived and there was shooting going on. Am I missing something?

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