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'Blood And Truth' Investigates DNA, Crime And Innocence


A Central Florida man has been sitting on death row awaiting execution for 42 years. But new DNA testing offers the hope of exonerating him. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Leonora LaPeter Anton, who is chronicling the plight of Tommy Zeigler in a six-part series this week in the Tampa Bay Times.

Tommy Zeigler has been awaiting execution for 42 years. He was convicted with the help of blood evidence that was, at the time, more theory than science and has been unable to get forensic testing that’s now available in murder cases.

Ziegler, now 73, is one of 19 men on Florida's death row who have been denied the use of advanced DNA testing.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting their appeals for post-conviction DNA tests have been rejected 70 times, or almost three out of every four requests on death row since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated in Florida.

This has happened despite a state law passed in 2001 to provide a way for inmates to obtain DNA testing in all cases.


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Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.