Man Attacks Lawyer Before Receiving Death Penalty

Convicted murderer Joseph Zieler, 61, attacked his own defense attorney moments before being sentenced to death for the brutal murder of 11-year-old Robin Cornell and her babysitter, 32-year-old Lisa Story, in 1990. The incident occurred during the highly anticipated court proceedings that followed Zieler’s recent conviction.

According to reports from the Daily Mail, Zieler requested the removal of cameras from the courtroom, seemingly aiming to have a private conversation with his attorney, Kevin Shirley. However, as Shirley approached, Zieler unexpectedly launched a powerful elbow strike to the attorney’s nose and eye region. Alert court bailiffs swiftly intervened, apprehending Zieler and preventing further harm.

Amid the commotion, cameras captured an unsettling sight: the word “killer” etched into Zieler’s teeth, providing a chilling glimpse into the mind of the convicted murderer. Following the assault, Judge Robert Branning temporarily removed Zieler from the courtroom to ensure Shirley’s well-being, before resuming the proceedings.

Attorney Shirley, undeterred by the assault, expressed his resilience, stating, “I’m fine. I used to box, I used to take a lot better shots than that.” Despite the attack, Shirley remained committed to his role in the trial and continued to represent his client.

Returning to the courtroom, Zieler reportedly growled at the judge and other onlookers, further exhibiting his unpredictable and violent behavior. Throughout the trial, Zieler vehemently maintained his innocence, rejecting any involvement in the heinous crimes that took place over three decades ago. Additionally, he refused to allow his relatives to speak on his behalf.

The case against Zieler relied heavily on DNA evidence, which had been matched to the crime scene through advancements in forensic technology. Investigative authorities stated that the defendant’s DNA frequency matched the semen found on the bed sheet where Robin was sleeping with a staggering probability of over 1 in 700 billion. Despite Zieler’s protests, the jury recommended the death penalty in May 2023, a decision that was upheld by Judge Branning.

The shocking courtroom assault has added another disturbing chapter to the tragic tale surrounding the double homicide case. As Zieler awaits his execution, the community and the victims’ families find some solace in the knowledge that justice has been served for Robin Cornell and Lisa Story, while grappling with the harrowing violence that unfolded in the courtroom.

The Blaze


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