WINK Exclusive: Jan Cornell speaks about Joseph Zieler trial

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

For 30 years, Jan Cornell has kept the last recording of her daughter, Robin’s, voice. “To my mom. Roses are red, violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, and I love you.”

For the first time in 33 years, Cornell says she’s at peace.

“Knowing that Robin and Lisa are going to have justice on the books forever. Because that’s all I could ever make sure happen for them,” said Cornell.

In 2016, a DNA test linked Joseph Zieler to Robin Cornell and Lisa Story’s murders. Family friend Lisa was babysitting Robin that night in 1990.

The jury convicted Zieler and recommended he be put to death.

The judge will decide Zieler’s fate in late June.

“Whatever the decision is, I just never want him to be free of his punishment is to live alone for the rest of his life. It ensures that he will never walk another free day of his life to inflict his torture. And he’s an evil man. I don’t even like to call him a man. He’s evil to the core. Because you watch this. There was not one shred ever of any remorse,” said Cornell.

WINK News asked Cornell if 10 years ago, before Zieler’s arrest, she’d ever see this day. Her answer: no way.

“I’m okay with that. I’ll keep looking. But I don’t want to find out because he killed someone else like he did them. I don’t ever want anybody to feel like I do.” said Cornell.

Until detectives caught Zieler, Cornell stated she could never let go. She could not move away. Because what if someone forgot? What if detectives stopped looking?

“I promised the day I had to say goodbye to Robin, at the funeral in the cemetery. I promised her I will never ever stop looking for the person that hurt you both. I, I’ll never stop. I said I promise.” Cornell said.

Cornell can finally reminisce, 33 years later, and smile. “Robin talked about the future. She thinks she wanted to do and be when, when she grew up she wanted to be. It was a writer or an author, any child. That is feeling like they’re the underdog. Robin was an ambassador for that.”

When WINK News asked about Lisa, Cornell gave the following response, “She wanted to save everything. She was all about the environment. She would drive 2 hours to save a dying animal.”

As for Zieler, Cornell called him a monster. “I literally, I want him to leave his prison. Like my daughter and my friend left their home in zipped-up, closed bodybags, and then justice will have been served. Because we’re never going to know why he came there. We can only just speculate and guess we don’t know. Because he’s an evil person.”

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