DNA Evidence Proves Zeigler Innocent! ...Oh Well, Who Cares.
Don Frye, the lead Orange Co. Sheriff detective, is living proof that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A few months before the crime, he had taken a short course on analyzing blood evidence. The Zeigler case was his first opportunity to show off his knowledge (or lack thereof.) The crime scene at the furniture store included four dead bodies, one gut shot person still alive, more than 20 bullet holes, eight different guns, and blood everywhere. Yet Super Spy Frye figured it all out in a couple of hours after stumbling (literally) over the evidence in the darkened store.
The two main conclusions from his analysis of the blood stains were 1) the heavy stains on the bottom of Charlie Mays’ (the black man who was shot and beaten to death) trousers and the caked blood on the soles of his shoes were Mays’ own blood.; and 2) the blood drenched underarm of Zeigler’s shirt was from Zeigler’s father in law. Because of prosecutorial, police, and court misconduct (read conspiracy) the pants were not tested before trial and the shirt blood was not sub-typed. DNA evidence was not possible to obtain 30 years ago.
Now we know what the DNA shows! The blood on Mays pants was from Zeigler’s father in law and the blood on Zeigler’s shirt was from Charlie Mays. Super Spy Frye got it 100% wrong. (Click here to view a closeup of the front and back of Zeigler's t-shirt.)
This totally supports the defense theory that Mays had come to harm Zeigler not to buy a TV. Zeigler and Mays struggled and both got shot. The crime scene photo reproduced in Phillip Finch’s book, Fatal Flaw, shows Mays’ body lying on a white terrazzo floor with no blood stains or foot prints near his body. That means the blood on Mays pants and shoes was dry when he was killed. Dry blood from Zeigler’s father-in-law means only one thing: Mays killed him, not Zeigler. It was at least 15 minutes later that Zeigler and Mays fought and by that time the blood on Mays pants had dried.
In April 2005, the circuit court refused to grant a new trial based on the DNA evidence in part because the prosecution argued that the other parts of the t-shirt that were not tested for DNA might have contained the father in law's blood. (I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP!). The Florida Supreme Court has ruled against Zeigler on all previous appeals and seldom reverses a lower court case. Zeigler’s time is short and the only ones who seem to care are the killers and the conspirators who are still at large!