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Zeigler, through Vidster's eyes

Zeigler, through Vidster's eyes

   There is a man on Florida's death row. He has been there since 1976. His full name is William Thomas Zeigler, Jr., but people call him Tommy. The guards call him Ziggy. Tommy is waiting. Waiting for a fair trial where all the evidence in his case is brought before an independent court. He wishes for the day that he walks into court armed this time with forensic science to repeat what he has said from the start: that he did not kill four people.

   He shot at one of them, yes. He does not know whether he actually hit him though. He fought with one of them, yes. He does not know how badly he hurt him though. But Tommy is sure that he did not beat that man to death with a crank.

   Early in Finch’s book "Fatal Flaw" you will read something that may seem like unexplained behavior on Tommy’s part. You could even call it suspicious behaviour.

   On Christmas Eve, 1975, Tommy decided to turn off all the lights in the furniture store. Usually there were four overhead lights left on to showcase the furniture through the front store windows. However, this night he told an employee to turn them all off. The store is described in the book and by eye-witnesses as “dark.”

   Despite the fact that this large, dark furniture store was a crime scene with multiple bodies inside, police did not hesitate to enter it several times before they received backup and before the crime scene technicians arrived.

   Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) deputies and other police officers violated basic rules of procedure by entering a dark crime scene knowing that they would disturb evidence. They made it worse by smoking on the scene while evidence had not been collected yet. They were tripping over furniture, breaking vases, slipping with muddy boots over what they thought was a waxed floor and in doing so, disturbed blood patterns and displaced evidence. They moved discarded bullets and cartridges, made extra foot prints, and disturbed the crime scene further by carelessly discarding cigarettes. Foot prints were wiped out. Swipe traces were clearly present. Remarkably, vehicles found parked near the furniture store were not processed for evidence.

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