Home Take Action Innocence Links Press Releases FL Execution Information Search Get Involved Local Groups Reports DP in the News U.S. Execution Information Yes Florida, There is an ALTERNATIVE to the Death Penalty
Stop the Murder of William Tommy Zeigler, Jr.
by the State Of Florida
Its Time For A New Trial For An Innocent Man
Sitting On Floridas Death Row For Over 28 Years
After talking to Tommy Zeigler for the period of time that I did and assessing all of the other information that I had, it was my professional opinion that Tommy Zeigler was telling the truth. And that in fact, he had walked into probably an armed robbery in progress, or that was staged for his benefit, and that he was in fact the victim.
John J. Palmatier, Ph.D., Head Examiner for the Michigan State Police, who administered a polygraph to Tommy Zeigler for the show Unsolved Mysteries (1997).
Unfortunately, we went into that store and gathered that evidence which supported our predeter-mined conclusion of guilt. There were over 20 different classifications and subgroupings of blood that we could have made and did not because we knew who was guilty.
As to whether Tommy Zeigler is guilty or innocent:
- Id have to vote not guilty at this point.
Leigh McEachern, former Chief Deputy Sheriff Orange County Sheriffs Office A Matter of Life and Death (1989)
Christmas Eve 1975 W.T. Zeigler Furniture Store Winter Garden, Florida USA
Four Shot DeadOne Almost Dead William Tommy Zeigler Rushed Into Emergency Surgery To Save His Life From A Gunshot Wound To the Abdomen.
Within Hours Police Charge Tommy Zeigler With The Four Murders: Eunice (His Wife), Her Parents And a Friend
Zeigler was attempting to clean up corruption right in his hometown of Winter Garden, Florida. He was helpful in shutting down the old Edgewater Hotel, a center of prostitution and drug dealing. But he was also trying to gather information on other illegal activities such as gun running and, most importantly, loan sharking.
The loan sharks made a fortune letting [black] migrant workers buy groceries on credit at an interest rate of 520% per year. And Tommy Zeigler alleges that certain members of the Winter Garden police force were in on the action. Ike Pappas A Matter of Life and Death (1989
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO ONLINE
Actually I think the whole complicated case can be condensed as follows: Police and prosecutors had to choose between a man whose truck was found at the murder scene, who was in the possession of the principal murder weapon and whose friend admitted to buying the others, and whose movements before and after the crime are unverifiable and highly suspect, and another who ended up with a .38 caliber bullet wound in the abdomen — and they chose to make the first their prime witness for the prosecution.
Phillip Finch, author
Fatal Flaw: A True Story of Malice and Murder in a Small Southern Town
The State Attorney Buried The Original Police Report And Used Misleading Sworn Testimony For The Grand Jury And The Trial If the original police report had been made available to us as it should have been, Chief Bobby Thompson’s observation (written within an hour of being at the scene) that all the blood on Tommy was dry would have clearly supported Tommy’s innocence. This is a classic example of prosecutorial misconduct and abuse of the justice system to mislead and pervert the outcome. This is not a search for the true perpetrator. This is an all out effort by the State to win a conviction even after finding out as early as the grand jury stage that the facts indicate that the wrong man is being charged.
Vernon Davids, Defense Co-counsel
As Tommy found out more and more how corrupt a tremendous amount of people really were, it had a snowballing effect. Until ultimately, it got him where he is now. Leslie Gift, Defense Team Investigator
The only person who was supposed to be in that store was Tommy. He was the intended victim all along. Terry Hadley, Defense Co-counsel
DNA testing of the blood on the clothes of Tommy Zeigler and Charlie Mays has established that the States case was false and Zeigler was telling the truth. Can anyone deny the urgency of granting Zeigler a full and fair hearing on all the evidence? Yet, the State Attorney is fighting to prevent a fair trial. It doesnt take the Wisdom of Solomon to figure out why the State wants to kill Tommy Zeigler as fast as possible!
Make Your Voice Heard
Write, phone or email Floridas Leaders.
That The Whole World Is Watching To
Assure A New Trial For Zeigler
By Email or Regular Mail
The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL USA 32399
Gov. Jeb Bush (850) 488-2272 fax 488.3495
Atty. Gen. Charlie Crist (850) 487-1963 or
414.3300 fax 487.2564 [email protected]
Tommy did not give in to the threats. He kept fighting to help the blacks in his community. When the white loan sharks moved to take the only black-owned liquor license in the area by framing the owner, Andrew James, Tommy arranged for his defense and testified as his character witness. The character witness for the white man on the other side was Judge Maurice Paul. Tommys side won.
Youve got a police car sitting out in front of the place and a cop sitting behind the counter. If anything got out of line, they would simply beat the [black] people up and dance them out the back door. This is not something that I was told, but something that I have seen
. When you get stopped by a cop on Main Street and he tells you hes going to kill you if you dont get your nose out of his business, whats to stop him?
—William Tommy Zeigler
Six months later the family store was hit with the murders. The judge who presided at Tommys trial and who sentenced him to death (over the jurys vote for life imprisonment) was none other than the same Judge Maurice Paul.
Hon. Tom Gallagher , Chief Financial Officer (850) 413.2820 fax 488.7265 [email protected]
Hon. Charles Bronson, Comm. of Agriculture
(850) 410.6702 or 488.3022
Jellison, a tourist at the motel behind the Zeigler store, told the State Attorneys investigators that at 8:30 pm he saw a policeman, gun drawn, hunkered down behind the store. At 9:00 he heard shots. The State Attorney hid the tape
of the interview until after the time expired for admitting evidence in Zeiglers case.
Unsolved Mysteries (1997)
This is obviously significant because this was 20 minutes before Tommy called for help. It would mean that the police would have to have been involved in the crime.
Defense Team Investigator
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy
Gainesville, FL 32609
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