|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
DECEMBER 17, 2004
|CONTACT: Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Abe Bonowitz, 561-371-5204 (cell phone)
Activists/Supporters to Demand a Fair Trial for Zeigler; 29 Years Later, Hearing Could Spell Freedom For Wrongly Convicted Winter Garden, Florida Man
ORLANDO, FL -- December 17 -- Just days before the anniversary of the 1975 "Christmas Eve Massacre" in Winter Garden, Fla., activists and supporters will hold several events in Orlando leading up to Monday's evidentiary hearing on the DNA test results in the case of William Thomas Zeigler, set for Dec. 20-21 before Judge Whitehead in Orlando, Fla. (State of Florida 9th Judicial Circuit).
The hearing will determine if Zeigler is to be granted a new trial based upon recent DNA test results. Activists and supporters plan to attend the hearing in large numbers.
The events include a film screening and a press conference featuring, among others, Vernon Davids, one of Zeigler's original trial attorneys. Event details are below.
Much more information on this case is available at http://www.fadp.org/Zeigler/zeiglerisinnocent.html
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 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 State's obvious 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, Fla. Instead of acknowledging that reality, the State is pressing forward with new theories of how the crimes might have occurred with Zeigler being responsible.
Event No. 1 -- Film Screening and Case Update, Sunday, 12/19/04 from 7:15pm to 9:30pm
FEATURING a screening of "A Matter of Life & Death," the nationally broadcast "trial" hosted by John McLoughlin
A case update by one of Zeigler's original trial attorneys, Vernon Davids, and others.
DATE: THIS SUNDAY, 12/19/04
TIME: 7:15pm to 9:30pm
LOCATION: Damascus Room in the Family Life Building at St. Margaret Mary Parish, 526 N. Park Ave. in Winter Park.
Event No. 2 -- Pre-Hearing Press Conference & Rally, Monday, 12/20/04 at 9am
December 20, 2004
9am press conference / 10am hearing at the Orange County Courthouse in Downtown Orlando, 425 N. Orange Ave.
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. It does so by: