Judge demands DNA evidence list in Tommy Zeigler case

Zeigler accused of killing wife, family members in 1975, which he denies

ORLANDO, Fla. – A judge is demanding a list of all the evidence that needs to be tested for DNA in the case of an Orange County man accused of several murders nearly 50 years ago — saying getting this information is taking way too long.

Lawyers for Tommy Zeigler, the man who’s been on death row for more than four decades, requested additional DNA testing for his case.

Zeigler said he’s innocent of the murders of four relatives, including his wife, at their Winter Garden furniture store back in 1975.

Zeigler’s attorney claims new DNA tests could clear his name and asked to leave the proposed order open for any new evidence.

“We believe it appropriate to request the court to authorize release of additional pieces of evidence,” said Dennis Tracey, Zeigler’s attorney.

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In 2021, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell agreed to release evidence for testing.

Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an appeal, which her office dropped earlier this month.

“To leave this order open for a year to bring in whatever new evidence we also forgot? That’s not reasonable,” Judge Patricia L. Strowbridge said Monday.

Prosecutors said there are 326 pieces of evidence in the case and only some have been tested.

“With all due respect, you’ve had 43 years to do that and so talking about getting to the bottom of what happened, I’ve not maintained a position since the beginning of this motion that the defense couldn’t have this DNA testing. What I’ve maintained all along is that it needs to come to closure,” Strowbridge said.

Zeigler’s lawyers have two weeks to submit to the court a final list of all the evidence that needs to be tested.

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About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!