Video Shows Man Elbow Lawyer in Face Before Being Sentenced to Death for Murder of 11-Year-Old Girl, Babysitter

The lawyer told the judge he used to box and has "taken a lot better shots than that one."

View this video on YouTube

A Florida man convicted of killing an 11-year-old girl and her babysitter let his lawyer know how he felt about him by elbowing him in the face hours before being sentenced to death, as seen in the above video from WBBH Fort Myers.

In the video shared online by the NBC News affiliate on Monday, Joseph Zieler is seen attending a hearing in a Florida courtroom when he asked to speak with his attorney Kevin Shirley. As the lawyer leaned over to hear what his handcuffed client had to say, Zieler started talking, then swung his elbow and clocked Shirley across the face.

Bailiffs wasted no time in tackling Zieler as Shirley said he was okay, and told the judge that he used to box so he's taken much harder hits than what his client had waiting for him. He also told NBC News that he had no clue why Zieler attacked him. 

"He had to know how the bailiffs would react," Shirley said in a statement on Tuesday. "We had a very good working relationship. It was probably his last effort to put on a public display and I was the only civilian that he was able to lure within arms reach."

After being taken out of the courtroom, Zieler returned after 10 minutes and claimed his innocence in the brutal 1990 murder he's accused of. He wouldn't let any of his family members speak for him either. 

"I have nothing to do with this," he said, according to Fort Myers News-Press. "I maintain my innocence." 

According to online court documents, Zieler was sentenced to death on two first-degree murder counts shortly after claiming his innocence. Zieler was in court for a Spencer hearing, which allows defendants to take an appeal directly to a judge. 

Through DNA evidence, Zieler was arrested and convicted of mudering 11-year-old Robin Cornell and her 32-year-old babysitter Lisa Story, according to the Fort Myers News-Press. Cornell and Story were asphyxiated and sexually assaulted.

Latest in Life