Jury selection for Joseph Zieler’s murder trial began Monday

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

An accused killer’s trial is set to begin 23 years after a babysitter and daughter were murdered in Cape Coral.

Joseph Zieler is facing two counts of sexual battery, two counts, and a burglary with assault charge.

Police said the deaths of 32-year-old Lisa Story and 11-year-old Robin Cornell were the results of an attempted robbery.

Jury selection for the trial began on Monday.

In May 1990, Jan Cornell returned to her Cape Coral apartment, finding her daughter and roommate raped and murdered.

“I love my baby more than life itself. And my friend, I loved her too. She didn’t deserve this. Neither one of them deserved this evilnes,” Cornell said.

For 26 years, the case sat cold. Then, in 2016, Cape Coral Police arrested Joseph Zieler for battery on his son. The arrest gave detectives Zieler’s DNA, which connected him to the killings of Lisa and Robin.

Joseph Zieler in the court room. CREDIT: WINK News

An audience cheered as investigators announced Zieler’s arrest for First Degree Murder.

32 years after the double murder and six years after his arrest, Zieler will finally stand trial.

Judge Robert Branning, the state, and defense began this week questioning a pool of potential jurors. They expect they’ll need three days to seat a jury of 12 plus four alternates which is what state law requires in a capitol case.

The jury must first consider the evidence and reach a verdict. If the panel says Zieler is guilty, then they will go through a penalty phase and recommend whether he gets life or death.

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