Convict Suddenly Elbows Lawyer in Court

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

( – During a sentencing hearing in Florida on Monday, June 26, Joseph Zieler, a convicted murderer, physically assaulted his own lawyer. Zieler, aged 61, was previously found guilty of the 1990 murders of Robin Cornell, an 11-year-old girl, and her babysitter Lisa Story, aged 32, by a court in Lee County, Florida.

Throughout the hearing, Zieler reportedly displayed belligerent behavior, including insulting Cornell’s mother. Due to his erratic conduct during the testimony, the judge ordered the jurors to leave the courtroom. According to a local NBC affiliate WBBH-TV report, Zieler attacked his attorney, Kevin Shirley, during this incident. While the sentencing hearing was in progress, Zieler attempted to communicate something to his lawyer. As Shirley leaned over to listen, Zieler struck him on the head with his elbow. The entire incident was captured on camera and later shared online.

After the assault, court bailiffs swiftly restrained Zieler on the ground. Shirley appeared unharmed and undisturbed by the incident, stating that he had endured more impactful blows in the past due to his experience in boxing. Shirley expressed appreciation for the court’s handling of the situation.

In May, a jury had delivered a guilty verdict against Zieler for the murders, with a vote of 10-2, and had even recommended the death penalty. On Monday, Judge Robert J. Branning formalized the recommendation, sentencing Zieler to death.

Although Cornell and Story were killed three decades ago, it took years for Zieler to be identified as a suspect. In 2016, his DNA came to the attention of law enforcement after he was arrested for shooting his adult son with a pellet gun.

Copyright 2023,