Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Killing of Jeff Zack

George Conviction Overturned

Cynthia then retained new attorneys, Bradley Barbin and Max Kravitz, who filed an appeal, claiming that Judge Cosgrove should not have allowed Michael Bowler and Robert Meeker to represent Cynthia, because they had brokered the suspicious deal that provided $15,500 from the Georges to Zaffino and his attorney. Due to this conflict of interest, the new legal team argued, Cynthia George had been denied effective counsel and, thus, should receive a new trial. Bowler and Meeker had argued before the trial that their involvement was legitimate because the payments were in the interest of sharing information. Cosgrove had decided that the agreement would not be prejudicial to the defendant. Now that was under scrutiny.

But the issue became moot on March 22, 2007, when the Ninth Ohio District Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reverse Cosgrove's conviction of George. The justices ruled that the evidence was insufficient to prove guilt and ordered her to be released.

Prosecutors appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, but on August 30, 2007, the higher court upheld the reversal. Cynthia George was declared not guilty and would therefore, by her constitutional protection from double jeopardy, be immune from any future attempt to try her for the Zack murder.

Jeff Zack
Jeff Zack

Relieved and happy, Cynthia issued a statement to the press: "Throughout this storm, our faith has sustained us. We are tattered and worn but still standing. With this decision and the closure it provides, it is time that we as a family move forward with our lives."

Zack's family believed that justice had not been done.

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