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June 8, 2011

"Kasich commutes convicted killer's sentence to life without parole"

The title of this post is the headline of this breaking news from the Columbus Dispatch:

Convicted killer Shawn Hawkins will not be executed because details of his role in the double slaying are "frustratingly unclear," Gov. John Kasich said today in commuting his death sentence to life without parole.

In his clemency statement, Kasich said there is "no doubt that the defendant played a significant, material role in this heinous crime, but precise details of that role are frustratingly unclear to the point that Ohio shouldn't deliver the ultimate penalty in this case. "Therefore, I am ordering that he spend the rest of his life in prison and have no chance of ever getting out.  As someone who has experienced sudden and tragic loss, I know the pain that comes with losing loved ones.  My prayers go out to the families of Diamond Marteen and Terrence Richard in the hope that they may find peace."

Hawkins' attorney Anthony G. Covatta issued a statement thanking Kasich for his "merciful decision."...

It was the first time since taking office in January that the Republican governor used his gubernatorial clemency power to stop an execution; he previously allowed four killers to be put to death.

Hawkins, 42, of Cincinnati, was scheduled to be executed Tuesday for killing Richard, 18, and Marteen, 19, in a drug deal gone bad. The two men were found shot to death in a car in Mt. Healthy, a Cincinnati suburb, on the morning of June 12, 1989.

Hawkins' case presented Kasich with a dilemma, compounded by the Ohio Parole Board's unanimous recommendation favoring clemency. "The board is not confident in the death sentence in this case, but is also not convinced that Shawn Hawkins is innocent," the board said in its May 12 ruling. The board said Hawkins was "clearly involved" in the drug deal and the murders, but that aspects of his conviction are "troubling."

Supporters claim there is no indisputable evidence that Hawkins killed Richard and Marteen after they negotiated a deal to purchase a pound of marijuana for $1,400. Hawkins claimed that he could not reach his supplier and the drug deal never happened. The two young men were each shot twice in the head with a .25-caliber handgun....

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters vigorously disputed Hawkins' innocence claim, calling it "total nonsense."  He said the murder conviction and sentence was reviewed and upheld by 33 judges.  He dispatched two staff members last week to meet with Kasich's legal team.  However, Deters said he would abide by the governor's decision.

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June 8, 2011 at 02:56 PM | Permalink


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What weasel words from Kasich . . . . um, Governor, the guy (as evidenced by his bloody fingerprints) played a material role in a double-killing. Sounds like death was the right punishment.


Posted by: federalist | Jun 8, 2011 9:41:51 PM

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