IRVINGTON, Ala. (WALA) – The grieving mother of a man who was murdered some 14 years ago is still looking for justice, after her son’s alleged killer is looking to schedule a retrial.
William Ziegler, 39, was convicted in 2001 of brutally stabbing and nearly decapitating 19-year-old Russell Allen Baker, Jr. and was sentenced to death.
In 2012, however, the conviction was overturned by Judge Sarah Stewart in the Mobile Circuit Court, after Ziegler filed a Rule 32 petition.
Now, as Ziegler’s next court date looms closer, Baker’s family is beginning to worry that justice may not be served. That’s because he will be tried by the same judge that granted Ziegler’s Rule 32 petition, giving him a retrial.
“We have to go back in front of the same judge that we had to go in front of with the Rule 32, and I just feel like, you know, what’s there is there, and she’s going to take it the way she wants to take it,” said Baker’s mother, Karen Baker Lee.
However, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office maintains confidence on the case.
“We still believe that we have a strong case, the facts will still be the facts, as they were 14 years ago, and we will present them to a jury of 12 people from Mobile County, and they will ultimately make the decision in this case,” said Deborah Tillman, chief assistant district attorney for Mobile County.
The family is also disturbed by the thought that Ziegler has a slight chance to be granted bond.
“This boy (Ziegler) stabbed my nephew 103 countable times, and then tried to decapitate him,” said Baker’s aunt, Mary Johansen. “Does he need a bond? No he sure don’t.”
Ziegler will appear in court Thursday, September 18 for a status hearing, where he will likely schedule his trial date.