Charles Ziegler says he’s accused in a homicide he didn’t commit, and on Tuesday an Albuquerque judge scheduled time for his defense team to conduct the DNA analysis that it believes will help prove he is innocent.
Ziegler is facing murder charges in the death of Eric Hicks, who was stabbed in September near the North Diversion Channel bike path. But in motions filed early this month, Ziegler’s attorney, Christopher Dodd, alleges he is in possession of “substantial evidence” that someone else killed Hicks.
Dodd argues that the man he believes is responsible was injured during the altercation that led to Hicks’ death. He asked the court to schedule sufficient time for him to order DNA testing on certain items of evidence, including blood-soaked clothing and blood samples collected from the crime scene.
“Defense investigation has revealed that the individual that we are naming as the one who committed the crime had a severe cut on his hand, very deep, that required hospital attention,” Dodd said in a hearing in 2nd Judicial District Court on Tuesday. “If he was indeed stabbed there, that will be shown by the DNA testing.”
Judge Briana Zamora determined Tuesday that the state must complete its testing of that evidence by July so that the defense can perform its own tests. Last week she agreed to give the defense access to his DNA standard and medical records.
While prosecutors in the case said they disagreed with the “factual basis stated in the defendant’s motion” they agreed he should have access to the DNA and medical records. And they agreed the defense should have time to evaluate the DNA evidence after the Albuquerque Police Department has completed its tests.
Prosecutors say Ziegler told a friend that he killed Hicks by stabbing in him the back, ribs and shoulder. They say that story is consistent with Hicks’ autopsy report. In an interview with a detective in December, he said he didn’t know Hicks was dead. And a month later, he told detectives that Hicks was killed by a hitman.
On March 16, APD announced that it was seeking two “persons of interest” in the case.
Detective Jodi Gonterman, who investigated the case, has said previously that several people were involved in the homicide. No one else has been charged.