Randall Joey Futch Jr., was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday by Liberty County Superior Court Judge Paul Rose.
Futch was found guilty in October of aggravated battery and theft as a result of the death of his former roommate, Dana Zeigler, who was found dead at her Midway home in December, 2014.
Futch had been charged with murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault, but the jury found him not guilty on those charges.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing Zeigler’s family and friends spoke on her behalf, saying the justice system failed her.
Zeigler’s best friend of 26 years, Susan Marshall, said the trial was a travesty of justice and that the District Attorney’s Office and investigators with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office failed to have certain evidence tested and presented a weak case.
“Dana deserved better…the jury got this one wrong,” she said.
Zeigler’s daughter, Danielle Jones, cried on the stand. She said this past Mother’s Day was difficult after the family received a letter from Futch. She said he wrote the letter while he was in jail awaiting his trial, and that he described in detail how he hit and choked her mother.
Futch addressed the court, saying he agrees that Zeigler deserved better. He said he has spent the past three years trying to prove his innocence and that law enforcement failed to follow other leads, zeroing in on him.
He said police failed to test a rape kit and failed to follow up information he gave them about a parolee who has been missing since the night of the murder. He said the parolee had caused trouble for Zeigler in the past.
Rose sentenced Futch to the maximum allowable by law for the crime of aggravated battery – 20 years. He then sentenced Futch to 10 years for the theft and ordered the sentences run consecutively.
More on this story will be in Wednesday’s Coastal Courier.