On Monday (June 26), a convicted murderer in Florida lashed out and attacked his lawyer in the courtroom as he faced the possibility of the death penalty.
Joseph Zieler, who was convicted earlier this year of killing and raping 11-year-old Robin Cornell and her babysitter, Lisa Story, 32, in Cape Coral more than two decades ago, was caught on video elbowing his lawyer in court.
According to Fox 4, it appeared Zieler tried to talk to his lawyer, Kevin Shirley, but as Shirley neared him, Zieler elbowed him in the face.
Two bailiffs quickly wrestled Zieler to the floor as the judge asked Shirley if he was okay.
Zieler had received two death penalties for both murders, with the judge telling him he had “forfeited his right to live” before handing down the sentence.
According to his lawyer, he plans to appeal.
His lawyer suggested that before being elbowed by Zieler, it appeared his client was motioning to him because he did not want the conversation to be caught on the microphones. However, after Shirley approached and bent over, he struck him.
Speaking to Fox 4, Shirley praised the bailiffs for being “quick to respond” and eliminating “any future threat.”
The judge denied Zieler’s request for a re-trial.
During Zieler’s sentencing, both victims’ relatives spoke of how the 1990 murders forever changed their lives.
“In their case, I needed to be their voice,” Jan Cornell, Robin Cornell’s mother, said at the hearing, adding she “wasn’t going to let either one of them down.”
State Attorney Amira Fox, who has worked on the case for decades, said the conclusion brought chills, noting that she had moved there in 1990 just as the crime occurred, and it “stuck” with her.
Fox added that seeing “justice served” 33 years later caused her to feel “chills in the courtroom.”
Joseph Zieler, 61, who was convicted in the 1990 killing of an 11-year-old girl and her babysitter elbowed his attorney in the face hours before he was sentenced to death. pic.twitter.com/Gt4LJ0Y2WA
— SAY CHEESE! 👄🧀 (@SaycheeseDGTL) June 27, 2023