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Orlando: Just days before the anniversary of the 1975 “Christmas Eve Massacre” in Winter Garden, activists and supporters rallied in Orlando seeking an affirmative result to Monday’s evidentiary hearing on the DNA test results in the case of William Thomas Zeigler. The hearing, held before Judge Whitehead (State of Florida 9th Judicial Circuit), will determine if Zeigler is to be granted a new trial based upon recent DNA test results. Many activists and supporters plan to attend the hearing.
“We are seeking a fair trial for Tommy Zeigler,” said Abe Bonowitz, director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP). “All we are asking for is the opportunity to put evidence discovered since the time of Tommys original trial in front of a jury. If the State wants to kill a man, its common sense to make sure we have the right guy.”
The detail in this case is huge. Much more information, including an exhaustive memo on the new DNA evidence on this case, and photos of case exhibits, is available at www.FADP.org. See web page menu on reverse of this page.
The State was successful in its motion to prevent the hearing from addressing the mountain of other post-trial evidence of innocence by claiming that the evidence is procedurally barred because it was introduced too late. Only the DNA test results are to be evaluated. The DNA test results, which were completed over two years ago, are totally consistent with Zeigler’s description of events the night of the murders and inconsistent with the State’s version. The DNA tests show that the blood of Zeigler’s murdered father-in-law, Perry Edwards, was on Charlie Mays, not on Zeigler. The blood on Zeigler was the blood of Charlie Mays, whom Zeigler has always claimed jumped him, resulting in a fight almost to the death.
For 29 years the State has claimed that Mays, who was found beaten to death with a linoleum roll crank, was a hapless victim of the crime. Now, in the face of the DNA test results, the State is attempting to redefine Mays as a co-perpetrator of Zeigler who was then killed by Zeigler. The problem is that if Zeigler didn’t kill Mays, then the co-perpetrators in this horrible massacre are still walking around free, possibly right in Orange County, Florida. Instead of acknowledging that reality, the State is pressing forward with new theories of how the crimes might have occurred with Zeigler being responsible.
Events held by the activists included a Sunday evening screening of “A Matter of Life & Death,” the nationally broadcast “trial” hosted by John McLaughlin followed by a case update by one of Zeigler’s original trial attorney’s, Vernon Davids, and a Monday morning press conference prior to the hearing.
Ziegler Attorney Vernon Davids
Ziegler Attorney Vernon Davids
Amnesty International USA’s Florida State
Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
FADP Director Abe Bonowitz
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy
Gainesville, FL 32609