Friday, April 17, 2015

William Ziegler: Momentous decision; Convicted of capital murder 2001; In 2012 a judge found numerous errors and had serious doubts about his guilt. He plead to a reduced charge to avoid a retrial - all the time maintaining his innocence. The decision came less than two weeks after Anthony Ray Hinton, another condemned Alabama prisoner was freed after claiming he was innocent. CBS NEWS.

STORY: "Another inmate freed from Alabama's death row," pubished by CBS News, on April 17, 2015.

PHOTO CAPTION: "William Ziegler speaks to reporters after being released from Alabama's death row on April 16, 2015."
GIST: Ziegler was convicted of capital murder in 2001 and sentenced to die for Baker's killing. Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart overturned Ziegler's conviction in 2012, indicating there were numerous errors and serious doubts about his guilt.
Prosecutors had said they planned to try him again, but Ziegler instead was allowed to plead guilty to the reduced charge to resolve the case.........The decision came less than two weeks after another condemned Alabama prisoner was freed after claiming he was innocent. Anthony Ray Hinton was released April 3 after nearly 30 years on Alabama's death row for a pair of killings in Jefferson County. Prosecutors in that case dismissed charges in the 1985 gunshot deaths of two fast-food workers after new testing on the defendant's gun could not prove that it fired the fatal shots. Baker's body was found in a wooded area in Mobile County in 2000. Authorities said Ziegler had quarreled at a party, and Ziegler was convicted along with three accomplices. But a key witness who claimed Ziegler had threatened Baker later recanted, helping lead to Stewart's decision to overturn the case. With his plea, Ziegler acknowledged that his conduct helped lead to Baker's death."

The entire story can be found at:

See related Huffington Post story; "He had been awaiting execution since his conviction in 2001 for the slaying of Russell Allen Baker in Mobile County. But after winning the right to a new trial, Ziegler negotiated a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting murder. Ziegler acknowledged that his conduct helped lead to Baker's death. Mobile County Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart sentenced him to the 15 years he had already been incarcerated, which allowed him to be released. Stewart had granted Ziegler the right to a new trial after finding that his defense lawyer failed to adequately represent him, prosecutors failed to reveal a witness recanted his testimony and a juror lied when asked about his views on the death penalty."

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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