Thank you for the assistance on this issue.
I did a clean install and disabled wicd and have also disabled auto reconnect. The zombie process still persists but it was probably not the source of the spiking which I think was wicd polling for a wireless connection. When shutting down or restarting I get the message stopping all daemons and then it attempts to start wicd and after a few seconds it will progress to the splash. Everything else appears to be stable.
I will keep an eye out for the wicd update. Launchpad does show some issues with wicd and hopefully those will be fixed in 1.5. I would grab the unstable version but will wait it out seeing that this version of xfce is a beta rc and not the final. No need to restart a fire after you just finish putting it out