Capital punishment in Ohio
Capital punishment in Ohio is legal. Since 1885, a total of 393 individuals have been executed in the U.S. state of Ohio. A total of 139 people (one woman and 138 men) are currently under a sentence of death in the state as of January 16, 2014[update]. The current method of execution in Ohio is lethal injection.
The jury does decide the sentence in capital cases. Jurors can vote for the death penalty, life without parole, or life with a 30 years or 25 years non-parole period. Clemency rests with the governor of Ohio, who receives a non-binding report from the Ohio Parole Board.
Locations and method
Executions in Ohio are currently performed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Since January 2012, death row for the majority of male inmates is located at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution (CCI) in Chillicothe. A few high security male death row inmates are held at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) in Youngstown. Condemned female inmates are housed at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville and death row inmates with serious medical conditions are held at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus. Prior to this, most male death row inmates were held at OSP with a few being held at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Mansfield. The move to CCI allows the units at OSP and Mansfield to be used to separate violent inmates from the general population and will provide increased security and reduce transportation costs to both the execution chamber at SOCF and to the Franklin Medical Center for inmate medical treatment.
Prior to 1885, executions were carried out by hanging in the county where the crime was committed. The Northwest Territory's first criminal statutes, also known as Marietta Code, date from 1788, 15 years before Ohio's statehood in 1803. These statutes did not ensure yet any uniform means of execution, nor did they designate where the executions were to take place. The statutory change from 1815 had executions as to be carried out locally and required the local sheriff to be also the local executioner, and in his absence or in any case of him being impeded, the local coroner would have to substitute him. That ordeal appears to be the first statewide attempt to ensure uniform means of execution and to designate where such executions were to take place, but it also appears to just turn into protocol and procedure by law a practice which had institutionalized even before Ohio's statehood in 1803.
In 1885, the legislature enacted a law that required executions to be carried out at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus by hanging, and law handed the executioner's job to the penitentiary's warden. This practice of naming the State Prison's warden executioner seems to have penetrated deeply into the 20th Century, as we can learn from the 1938 death sentence against Anna Marie Hahn. In 1897 the gallows were replaced by the electric chair, which was considered to be a more technologically advanced and humane method of execution. Ohio also became the second state to use the electric chair. 28 hangings, and 315 electrocutions were carried out at the now defunct Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus from 1885 to 1963.
In November 2009, Ohio announced that it would only use a single drug for lethal injections, consisting of a single dose of Sodium thiopental, the first state to do so. The first single drug execution was that of Kenneth Biros, 51, on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. Biros was convicted of murdering 22-year-old Tami Engstrom near Masury, Ohio in 1991. Biros' counsel indicated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that Biros' execution, given that it is the first of its kind, may amount to "human experimentation." Various appeals for clemency were ultimately denied. Ohio announced in January 2011 that it will change the drug used from sodium thiopental to pentobarbital, as the availability of sodium thiopental has become quite scarce. The first execution using pentobarbital, was that of Johnnie Baston, on March 10, 2011.
On July 1, 2011, Lundbeck, the Danish pharmaceutical company that holds the sole license to manufacture pentobarbital in the United States, announced that its distributors would deny distribution of pentobarbital to U.S. prisons that carry out the death penalty by lethal injection. Ohio used up its supply of pentobarbital on September 25, 2013, with the execution of Harry Mitts Jr. On January 16, 2014, Ohio executed Dennis McGuire who was convicted of raping and then murdering 22 year old Joy Stewart who was 30 week pregnant, became the first U.S. inmate to be executed with a combination of the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone. The effects of this combination of drugs on the body are controversial and not well understood. McGuire took 25 minutes to die, an unusually long time for an execution, being among the longest since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999.
Currently (as of 2015), a charge of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications may occur with at least one of the following special circumstances:
- The offense was the assassination of the president of the United States or person in line of succession to the presidency, or of the governor or lieutenant governor of Ohio, or of the president-elect or vice president-elect of the United States, or of the governor-elect of Ohio, or of a candidate for any of the foregoing offices.
- The offense was committed for hire.
- The offense was committed for the purpose of escaping detection, apprehension, trial, or punishment for another offense committed by the offender.
- The offense was committed while the offender was under detention or while the offender was at large after having broken detention. "Detention" generally refers to a detention due to arrest, conviction, delinquency, or other violation of law, and does not include hospitalization or institutionalization where the person was not confined as the result of violating the law.
- Prior to the current offense, the offender was convicted of a previous offense having as an essential element the purposeful killing of or attempt to kill another, or the current offense was part of a course of conduct involving the offender's purposeful killing of or attempt to kill two or more persons.
- The victim was a law enforcement officer (LEO), and the offender knew or reasonably should have known that fact, and the LEO was either performing duties as a LEO or the offender acted with the specific purpose of killing a LEO.
- The offense was committed while the offender was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, aggravated robbery, or aggravated burglary, and either the offender was the principal offender in the commission of the aggravated murder or, if not the principal offender, committed the aggravated murder with prior planning.
- The victim was a witness who was purposely killed by the offender either to prevent the victim from testifying, or in retaliation for prior testimony.
- The offender, in the commission of the offense, purposefully caused the death of another who was under thirteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense, and either the offender was the principal offender in the commission of the offense or, if not the principal offender, committed the offense with prior planning.
- The offense was committed while the offender was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit terrorism.
Various mitigating factors may be considered and weighed against the above aggravating factors in deciding whether to impose the death penalty, including but not limited to the nature and circumstances of the offense; the history, character, and background of the offender, including but not limited to lack of a prior record; whether the offender was coerced or under duress; whether the offender had a mental disease or defect that prevented him from appreciating the criminality of his conduct at the time of the offense; and the youth of the offender.
List of individuals executed since 1976
All of the following individuals have been executed for murder since the Furman decision. All 53 were executed by lethal injection. Notable persons executed in Ohio before the Furman decision include Anna Marie Hahn.
|Name||Date of Execution||Victim||Governor|
|1||Wilford Berry, Jr.||February 19, 1999||Charles Mitroff||Bob Taft|
|2||Jay D. Scott||June 14, 2001||Vinnie M. Price|
|3||John William Byrd, Jr.||February 19, 2002||Monte Tewksbury|
|4||Alton Coleman||April 26, 2002||Tonnie Storey
Marlene Walters (sentenced to death in Indiana and Illinois)
|5||Robert Anthony Buell||September 24, 2002||Krista Harrison|
|6||Richard Edwin Fox||February 12, 2003||Leslie Renae Keckler|
|7||David M. Brewer||April 29, 2003||Sherry Byrne|
|8||Ernest Martin||June 18, 2003||Robert Robinson|
|9||Lewis Williams, Jr.||January 14, 2004||Leoma Chmielewski|
|10||John Glenn Roe||February 3, 2004||Donette Crawford|
|11||William Dean Wickline||March 30, 2004||Peggy Lerch
|12||William G. Zuern, Jr.||June 8, 2004||Hamilton County Deputy Sheriff Phillip Pence|
|13||Stephen Allan Vrabel||July 14, 2004||Susan Clemente
|14||Scott Andrew Mink||July 20, 2004||William Mink
|15||Adremy Dennis||October 13, 2004||Kurt Kyle|
|16||William Smith||March 8, 2005||Mary Bradford|
|17||Herman Dale Ashworth||September 27, 2005||Daniel L. Baker|
|18||William James "Flip" Williams, Jr.||October 25, 2005||William Dent
Alfonda R. Madison, Sr.
Eric Howard and Theodore Wynn, Jr.
|19||John R. Hicks||November 29, 2005||Brandy Green|
|20||Glenn Lee Benner II||February 7, 2006||Trina Bowser
|21||Joseph Lewis Clark||May 2, 2006||David A. Manning
Donald B. Harris
|22||Rocky Barton||July 12, 2006||Kimbirli Jo Barton|
|23||Darrell Ferguson||August 8, 2006||Thomas King
|24||Jeffrey Lundgren||October 24, 2006||Dennis Avery
|25||James J. Filiaggi||April 24, 2007||Lisa Huff Filiaggi||Ted Strickland|
|26||Christopher Newton||May 24, 2007||Jason Brewer|
|27||Richard Cooey||October 14, 2008||Wendy Offredo
|28||Gregory Bryant-Bey||November 19, 2008||Dale Pinkelman
|29||Daniel E. Wilson||June 3, 2009||Carol Lutz|
|30||John Joseph Fautenberry||July 14, 2009||Joseph Daron Jr.
|31||Marvallous Keene||July 21, 2009||Sarah Abraham
|32||Jason Getsy||August 18, 2009||Ann Serafino|
|33||Kenneth Biros||December 8, 2009||Tami Engstrom|
|34||Vernon Lamont Smith||January 7, 2010||Sohail Darwish|
|35||Mark Aaron Brown||February 4, 2010||Hayder Al-Turk
|36||Lawrence Raymond Reynolds||March 16, 2010||Loretta Foster|
|37||Darryl M. Durr||April 20, 2010||Angel Vincent|
|38||Michael Francis Beuke||May 13, 2010||Robert Craig|
|39||William Garner||July 13, 2010||Deondra Freeman
|40||Roderick Davie||August 10, 2010||John Ira Coleman
|41||Michael W. Benge||October 6, 2010||Judith Gabbard|
|42||Frank Spisak||February 17, 2011||Rev. Horace Rickerson
|43||Johnnie Ray Baston||March 10, 2011||Chong-Hoon Mah|
|44||Clarence Carter||April 12, 2011||Johnny Allen|
|45||Daniel Lee Bedford||May 17, 2011||Gwen Toepfert
|46||Reginald Brooks, Sr.||November 15, 2011||Reginald Brooks, Jr.
|47||Mark Wayne Wiles||April 18, 2012||Mark Klima|
|48||Donald Palmer||September 20, 2012||Charles Sponhaltz
|49||Brett Xavier Hartman||November 13, 2012||Winda Snipes|
|50||Frederick Treesh||March 6, 2013||Henry Dupree|
|51||Steven T. Smith||May 1, 2013||Autumn Carter|
|52||Harry D. Mitts, Jr.||September 25, 2013||John Bryant
Sgt. Dennis Glivar Garfield Heights, Ohio police
|53||Dennis B. McGuire||January 16, 2014||Joy Stewart|
The demographic information on the 34 inmates executed in Ohio between February 19, 1999, and January 7, 2010, is as follows:
- Mean Age at Time of Execution: 44 years, 1.9 months
- Mean Time from Death Sentence to Execution: 14 years, 6 months
- Median Time from Death Sentence to Execution: 15 years, 11 months
- Capital punishment in the United States
- Law of Ohio
- List of wrongful convictions in the United States
- List of exonerated death row inmates
- List of United States death row inmates
- "Capital Punishment in Ohio". Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "Death Row Inmates". Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)
- Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)
- Death Row move to Chillicothe frees up cells | The Columbus Dispatch
- Laws Passed in the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio. Philadelphia, PA: Printed by F. Childs and J. Swaine, 1788.; microfiche Buffalo, NY: Hein, 1986.
- These statutes are also known as the Marietta Code, as quoted in: Welsh-Huggins, Andrew: No Winners Here Tonight: Race, Politics, and Geography in One of the Country’s Busiest Death Penalty States. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2009, p. 12.
- "That the mode of inflicting the punishment of death in all cases under this act, shall be by hanging by the neck, until the person so to be punished shall be dead; & the sheriff, or the coroner in the case of the death, inability or absence of the sheriff of the proper county, in which the sentence of death shall be pronounced by force of this act, shall be the executioner". (quoted from: Streib, Victor L.: The Fairer Death: Executing Women in Ohio. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006, p. 23.)
- "... and when any person shall be sentenced, by any cort of the state having competent jurisdiction, to be hanged by the neck until dead, such punishment shall only be inflicted within the walls of the Ohio penitentiary, at Columbus, Ohio, within an enclosure to be prepared for that purpose under the direction of the warden of the penitentiary and the board of managers thereof, which enclosure shall be higher than the gallows, and so constructed as to exclude public view". (quoted from: Streib, Victor L.: The Fairer Death: Executing Women in Ohio. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006, p. 23, 24.)
- "The mode of inflicting the punishment of death shall be by hanging by the neck until the person is dead; and the warden of the Ohio penitentiary, or in case of his death, inability or absence, a deputy warden, shall be the executioner;...". (quoted from: Streib, Victor L.: The Fairer Death: Executing Women in Ohio. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006, p. 24.)
- The death sentence against Anna Marie Hahn reads as follows: "[O]n the 10th day of March, 1938, the said Warden shall cause a current of electricity of sufficient intensity to cause death to pass through the body of the said defendant, the application of such current to be continued until the said defendant is dead, and may God have mercy on your soul". (quoted from: Streib, Victor L.: The Fairer Death: Executing Women in Ohio. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006, p. 44.)
- Killer executed for 1994 Toledo murder | The Columbus Dispatch
- Ehrenfreund, Max (January 16, 2014). "Dennis McGuire executed in Ohio with new combination of lethal drugs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Higgs, Robert (January 16, 2014). "State executes murderer Dennis McGuire, marking first use of new blend of drugs for lethal injection". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Ford, Dana (January 16, 2014). "Controversial execution in Ohio uses new drug combination". CNN. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Welsh-Huggins, Andrew (January 16, 2014). "Executed Killer Dennis McGuire, who was convicted of raping and then murdering 22 year old Joy Stewart who was 30 week pregnant, Gasped And Snorted For 15 Minutes Under New Lethal Drug Combo". Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2929.04, Ohio Revised Code section 2929.04, effective May 15, 2002, ohio.gov, accessed May 7, 2015.
- Laws Passed in the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio. Philadelphia, PA: Printed by F. Childs and J. Swaine, 1788.; microfiche Buffalo, NY: Hein, 1986.
- Davis, Harry: Death by Law. Columbus, OH: Federal Printing, 1922. (Reprinted from Outlook Magazine).
- DeBeck, William: Murder Will Out: The Murders and Executions of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, OH: 1867.
- DiSalle, Michael: The Power of Life or Death. New York, NY: Random House, 1965.
- Wanger, Eugene G.: "Capital Punishment in Ohio: A Brief History", Ohio Lawyer, November–December 2002, 8, 11, 30.
- Fogle, H. M.: The Palace of Death, or, The Ohio Penitentiary Annex. Columbus, OH: 1908.
- Fornshell, Marvin E.: The Historical and Illustrated Ohio Penitentiary Annex. Columbus, OH: Arthur, W. McGraw, 1997 (reprint of the 1903 original)
- Hixon, Mary, and Frances Hixon: The Last Hangings: Jackson, Ohio 1883-1884. Mary Hixon and Frances Hixon, 1989
- Maynard, Rosina: Ohio's Other Lottery System: The Death Penalty. Columbus, OH: Rosina Maynard, 1980.
- Morgan, Dan: Historical Lights and Shadows of the Ohio State Penitentiary. Columbus, OH: Ohio Penitentiary Printing, 1893.
- Welsh-Huggins, Andrew: No Winners Here Tonight: Race, Politics, and Geography in One of the Country’s Busiest Death Penalty States. Columbus, OH: Ohio University Press, 2008
- Streib, Victor L.: The Fairer Death: Executing Women in Ohio. Columbus, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006
These links are to official State of Ohio records regarding executions in the state and Ohio administrative rules and statutes pertaining to capital punishment in Ohio
- Death House tour on YouTube
- Ohio Executions 1999 to Present from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
- Capital Crimes Annual Reports 2007-2013 from the Ohio Attorney General's Office
- Ohio Administrative Code 5120-9-12 Department of Rehabilitation and Correction -- Inmates sentenced to death (contains institutional rules for death row)
- Ohio Revised Code § 2903.01 Aggravated murder
- Ohio Revised Code § 2929.04 Death penalty or imprisonment -- aggravating and mitigating factors
- Ohio Revised Code §§ 2949.21-2949.31 Execution of sentence
- Ohio Revised Code § 2929.02 Murder penalties
- All Ohio death row inmates
- Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (Location of execution chamber).
- Ohio State Penitentiary (Location of death row for male inmates)
- Ohio Reformatory for Women (Location of death row for female inmates)
- Laws of the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio : including the laws of the governor and judges, the Maxwell Code, and the laws of the three sessions of the Territorial Legislature, 1791-1802 : with a sketch of the State of Ohio, the Ordinance of 1787, etc. (The Marietta Code up to one year before Ohio's statehood)
- The statutes of Ohio and of the Northwestern territory, adopted or enacted from 1788 to 1833 inclusive: together with the Ordinance of 1787; the constitutions of Ohio and of the United States, and various public instruments and acts of Congress: illustrated by a preliminary sketch of the history of Ohio; numerous references and notes and copious indexes ... (The Marietta Code updated until 1833)