Trial Judge Maurice Paul refused to step aside despite his having been an opposing character witness against a Zeigler friend four months before the murders. Zeigler was a character witness for his friend, a black bar owner named Andrew James. James kept his bar and Judge Paul's friend lost his job. A few years later, Paul became a Federal District Judge in Florida where he remains today. See some of his character references in the Robing Room by clicking here.
Robert Eagan was the state attorney in Orange County, Florida from 1969 to 1989. He refused to investigate any other motive for the crime (Click here to read his memo to the sheriff department) . He attempted to coerce testimony against Zeigler from a man in jail who refused. (Click here for a video affidavit.) He hid evidence from the defense. (Click here for a transcript of an interview found years after the trial.)
Before Eagan left office in 1989, he was investigated for allegations of bribery by a Federal Grand Jury. (Click here to read an Orlando Sentinel article.)
Charles T. Wells was a lawyer and advisor to the sheriff of Orange Co. when Zeigler was arrested. In 1994 he became a Florida Supreme Court Justice. As such he should have disqualified himself from Zeigler's 2007 appeal of a DNA decision by Circuit Court Judge Whitehead. Instead, he was one of the justices who drafted the denial of the appeal.
Judge Reginald Whitehead took over the Zeigler case in 2003 after DNA evidence ordered by another judge showed Zeigler was innocent. Judge Whitehead did not disclose that his wife was an assistant state attorney working for then Orange County State Attorney Lawson Lamar. It is likely that this arrangement allowed "pillow talk" to assure that prosecutor Jeff Ashton could make his infamous accusation about how Zeigler got blood on him that was not the blood Eagan had told the jury it was at trial. Judge Whiteheads wife resigned her position in 2009 when it was learned that the relationship had not been disclosed to the defense.
Jeff Ashton won the state attorney election in 2013 and is now working to make sure no new DNA testing is granted by Judge Whitehead. In 2015 Ashton admitted being a member of the Ashley Madison web site that provides a means for cheating on your spouse.
(See the article in the Orlando Sentinel.) Ashton has also prevented Gary Bennett, a man serving a life sentence for a 1983 murder, from obtaining a new trial. A principle witness in the case was fraudulent dog handler John Preston who testified that his dog had identified Bennett's scent on a pair of scissors used to kill a neighbor. For Ashton's possibly unethical role in the Bennett case, please see that section.
This bill would, among other things, require a new trial when DNA establishes that the prosecution theory was false. The DNA evidence showed that Tommy did not kill a man as the prosecution claimed at trial and that another man at the scene did. Still the judge refused to order a new trial
Join the FREE TOMMY campaign! Send an email to Judge Whitehead, who will hear his appeal (when he gets around to it) for more DNA testing (DNA results more than 10 years ago proved he is innocent, but the court ignored it.) and the Florida attorney general who should support the appeal.Click here for a video that may convince you to join the free tommy campaign.) Corrupt judges and prosecutors must be prevented from continuing in office.
A Summer 2014 program entitled a Question of Innocence shows that Tommy is innocent!
Judge Paul, then a circuit judge, over-ruled the jury's recommendation after allegedly telling the prosecutor he would "Fry the son-of-a-bitch."
Burgin, who was editor from 1981 ti 1985 was very critical of the Sentinel's role in wrongly convicting Zeigler. Even today, the Sentinel is afraid to print the truth of this case.
Author Phil Finch traveled to Winter Garden in the early 90's at the request of Dave Burgin to study the facts of the case. After many weeks of study, he wrote Fatal Flaw: A True Story of Malice and Murder in a Small Southern Town. He was so convinced of Zeigler's innocence he made the book available on line at no charge.
Tommy Zeigler has been on death row in Florida since 1976. He was a politically active and successful owner of a Winter Garden furniture store who was shot through the abdomen and his wife, her parents, and another man were killed on Christmas Eve 1975. He was charged with the murders while still in the hospital, wrongfully convicted six months later, and condemned to death by a judge with a grudge against him. He is innocent of the murders.
Over the years new evidence and evidence intentionally withheld from the jury have established his innocence to hundreds of people (including at least two of the jurors) who have taken the time to review the facts. Unfortunately, once a person is convicted, the criminal justice system is not concerned with whether that person is guilty or not. This site presents many of the petitions and transcripts which have been submitted and rejected by the courts. The list of petitions and rulings below are the most recent which the courts and the Florida Attorney General have ignored. Click on any red underlined words to go to the text of the petitions. There are numerous videos on YouTube which will convince the viewer that justice in this case is blind to the truth. The original prosecutor, Robert Eagan, and his investigator, Don Frye, may or may not have a dark secret that has successfully been hidden for so many years, or perhaps they are just too arrogant to admit their mistake. Mr. Eagan may no longer be officially in charge, but his influence over judges and subsequent prosecutors is still being felt.
Below are links to videos that expand on many facits of the case.
A professional investigative report was done several years ago, which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AityymRK1jI
The current state attorney, Jeff Ashton, used a vicious lie in 2004 to convince Judge Whitehead to ignore DNA evidence that conclusively showed that Tommy was a victim (with a gunshot throught the abdomen) of the crime for which he was convicted. See the evidence of malicious prosecution at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dgz6BIz2d_k
A good review of the lies told by the prosecution at the original trial and later after DNA proved Tommy was innocent is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fBjIxdQ0QM
This video presents two alternative theories of the crime which the prosecutor never considered. This video discusses these two theories and pleads for an investigation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTCipeujv28
This video presents the affidavit of an ederly woman whose deceased son was tried and acquitted for a murder he didn't commit because he refused to falsely testify that he was Tommy Zeigler's homosexual lover at Tommy's trial in 1976. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQN3eNCAZLM
Since the State Supreme Court denied relief based on the previous DNA findings that proved the prosecution was wrong and then said every single spot that could be blood must be tested, this petition now demands that very thing!
Let the state deny this and there should be a revolution against the judiciary!
This is an excerpt written by a former Assist Att. General who has opposed Zeigler for many years.
Herbert MacDonell who later made outrageous claims about the blood spatter in the OJ Simpson case has been identified by his niece as a pediphile.
A very disgraceful display of public calumny in a court of law! The court under Judge Whitehead allowed it without comment.