Robin Cornell’s friends remember and wait for her killer’s verdict

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

The surviving four friends of Robin Cornell share a common desire: to see the man who killed Robin put to death.

Robin Cornell and Lisa Story were killed in 1990 by Joseph Zieler. Robin’s fifth-grade friends (now adults) await the fate of Robin’s killer.

“I hope that he leaves in a body bag,” Jenn Pancoast said.

Andrew Donley said, “Wherever God takes him, whether he goes to hell that’s on the other world, He’s got his coming.”

They’ll know the fate of Robin’s killer Monday.

A jury first convicted Joseph Zieler for Robin’s murder 33 years ago. They said he was also guilty of killing family friend Lisa Story, who was babysitting Robin that night. The same jury recommended Zieler be put to death.

“We all went to her grave and celebrated. Because it was that finally, we have someone we still don’t know the why,” Misty Ramsay said.

They may never know why. But they will find out if the judge agrees with the jury, or believes life in prison without parole is justice for Robin.

“I hope the judge does the right thing,” Pancoast said.

Since the night of the murders, Robin’s friends told WINK News Robin’s mom, Jan Cornell, promised her daughter and them she’d see this day through.

“The day before, you know, the day, we went to school, and we played, and we interacted just fine. And that night, you know, parents got calls or whatever. And the next day, we went to school and it was like something you’ve never seen before. I mean, every single one of us was crying. It was just terrible,” Lance Fisher said.

“It was one of the last days I walked home with her to her aunt’s house,” Andrew Donley said. “And one day, it was like a Wednesday and I said, ‘Bye. We’ll see you tomorrow.’ We didn’t get to see her again.”

The pain and trauma followed them for years. They all saw life differently.

The friends hope that the pain, this case and these murders may loosen its grip.

“I don’t think anybody will ever truly heal, but heal enough that this isn’t something shadowing over us like it has been for the last 33 years,” Ramsay said.

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