Home Phoenix Press Releases 2011 Man Sentenced for 1973 Murder of Tucson Woman

Man Sentenced for 1973 Murder of Tucson Woman
The Murder of a Former FBI Agent’s Daughter Touched the Lives of Many

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 20, 2011
  • District of Arizona (602) 514-7500

TUCSON, AZ—William Floyd Zamastil, 59, of Waupan, Wisconsin, convicted of first-degree murder for the 1973 murder of Leesa Jo Shaner, of Tucson, was sentenced today to life imprisonment by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Frank R. Zapata.

Zamastil was found guilty by a federal jury on July 28, 2011, of killing Ms. Shaner on Fort Huachuca, Ariz., on or about May 29, 1973. Zamastil will serve this sentence once he has completed three other life sentences in Wisconsin and California.

“After 38 years, Ms. Shaner’s murderer has been held accountable for his horrific crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends who endured such a profound loss.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal, Jr., Phoenix Division, stated, “The sentencing today of convicted murderer William Floyd Zamastil closes a very painful chapter in the lives of Leesa Jo Shaner’s family, friends, and the FBI family in Arizona. Leesa Jo Shaner, the daughter of former FBI Special Agent James A. Miller and Elizabeth Miller touched the lives of FBI employees and family members all across this country. Leesa’s family and the FBI never gave up hope that someday this case would be solved. The sentencing of William Floyd Zamastil can never relieve her family’s grief, nor does it lessen the pain of such a horrible event, but after 38 years, it does bring a sense of justice for Leesa.”

Ms. Shaner left her family home around 9:25 p.m. on May 29, 1973, to pick up her husband from the Tucson International Airport. When her husband arrived he could not find her. The car she drove to the airport was later found in the airport parking lot with the driver’s window halfway down, the car unlocked, and her purse inside on the back seat. Despite an extensive search, Ms. Shaner could not be located.

In September 1973, Ms. Shaner’s remains were found in a shallow grave on Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. Zamastil had abducted her from the airport and took her to a remote area on Ft. Huachuca where he raped, murdered, and buried her.

Zamastil is currently serving three first-degree murder sentences for crimes he committed in 1978 near Barstow, Calif. and in Madison, Wisconsin. He has been in custody since his arrest on August 2, 1978.

On August 1, 1978, Zamastil kidnapped a 24-year-old woman in the parking lot of a department store in Madison, Wisconsin. Zamastil saw the victim getting in her car in the parking lot, showed her his gun, and forced her to move to the passenger seat. He then drove approximately 15 to 30 miles away, where he raped and killed the victim. Zamastil was arrested and pleaded guilty to the rape and murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder charge and a consecutive term of 20 years on the sexual assault.

While serving his Wisconsin sentence, Zamastil pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in California. On February 27, 1978, Zamastil offered a ride to a brother, 17, and his sister, 18, in Barstow, Calif., after their car broke down. The siblings were last seen at a gas station. Zamastil later drove them to a remote area of the desert about 13 miles from Barstow, and murdered them. Their naked bodies were discovered by a sheep herder weeks later. Zamastil pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of life with possibility of parole, to be served at the same time as the Wisconsin sentence. Zamastil is eligible for parole on May 1, 2013, in Wisconsin.

The investigation into Ms. Shaner’s murder was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Sandra M. Hansen and Carmen F. Corbin, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.

CASE NUMBER: CR-09-1619-TUC-FRZ
RELEASE NUMBER: 2011-236(Zamastil)