On Thursday evening, Joseph Zieler was convicted of murdering Robin Cornell, 11, and Lisa Story, 32.
Zieler testified in his own defense Thursday, May 18. He faces the death penalty for the 1990 murders of Lisa, 32, and Robin Cornell,11. Both victims were beaten and sexually assaulted.
When Zieler’s lawyer questioned him, he denied he was even in Cape Coral when the murders took place.
When the state attorney started to ask about the key evidence in the case, Zieler’s DNA at the crime scene, Zieler stunned the courtroom when he said he had slept with Jan a few months before the murder.
“I thought the only way my DNA could have got there was from me sleeping with Jan Cornell,” he said. Then he called Cornell a pig: “She’s calling me a rapist and a murderer, and I’m calling her a pig because she doesn’t wash her sheets.”
Zieler held up a piece of evidence his attorneys had not yet introduced and addressed the jury directly.
“If you continue to act like this, I will have contempt proceedings. Is that clear? Is that in any way unclear?” said Judge Robert Branning. “I have never, ever had to speak to a defendant like this, and I regret you put me in this position, Mr. Zieler.”