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April 18, 2012

Ohio completes "the most documented execution in the United States"

As reported in this local story, after a sixth-month blockade of executions due to Ohio's persistent failure to follow its own execution protocols, the Buckeye State this morning got its machinery of death up and running again.  As, as these excerpts from the story highlight, the execution prompted some notable quotes from both the condemned and those tasked with ending his life:

More than 26 years after he brutally murdered a Rootstown, Ohio, teenager, Mark Wayne Wiles paid the ultimate price today. Wiles 49, was executed at 10:42 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville. It was Ohio’s first execution in five months because of a legal battle about the state’s lethal-injection procedures.

Wiles, who looked nervous and haggard after entering the death chamber, reportedly had spent a sleepless night. As he lay on the gurney, a prison staff member removed his glasses at his request, so that he could read his last statement from a piece of paper held in front of his face.

"The love and support of my family has sustained and supported me throughout the years," he said. "I love you all. Since this needs to happen today, I hope my dying brings some solace and closure to the Klima family and their loved ones.  The state of Ohio should not be in the business of killing its citizens. May God bless us all that fall short."

Gary C. Mohr, director of the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said this morning that because the Wiles case is being so closely watched by the courts, it is "the most documented execution in the United States."

Wiles was convicted and sentenced to be death for the fatal stabbing of Mark Klima, 15, on Aug. 7, 1985. Records show that Wiles, who was out of prison on an aggravated-robbery conviction, killed the 5-foot-tall, 100-pound Klima at the family’s Shakespeare Acres horse farm in Portage County where Wiles had once worked.  The kitchen knife that Wiles used to stab Klima 24 times had been used the previous day to cut the cake at a family birthday party....

The execution was the 47th in Ohio since capital punishment resumed in 1999.

I suspect time and future litigation may tell whether this "most documented" execution lived up to Ohio's own written protocols and to the expectations of the federal courts.  If Ohio is successfully back on track with its machinery of death, it likely will conduct another half dozen executions this year.

April 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Permalink


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I suspect the imperious Judge Frost won't like Mohr's comments.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 18, 2012 11:57:45 AM

That poor kid. So unfair. Didn't have a chance. Capital punishment should be the default rule for all murders.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 18, 2012 11:59:07 AM

The real "machinery of death" is documented, though briefly, in the mind-boggling penultimate paragraph of the excerpt.

The idea that the world would be better off if Ohio had kept this guy in it is beyond preposterous.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 18, 2012 12:02:48 PM

Written protocols? Anything in the Constitution requiring that? I don't think so. But at least you mentioned the victims and the crime itself this time, or at least quoted someone else mentioning it.

Posted by: Federale | Apr 18, 2012 2:35:20 PM

Wiles should have been aware that the only one in this case who "fell short" was the 15 year old victim who would be 41 today.

Posted by: DaveP | Apr 18, 2012 6:02:03 PM

It is amazing really how so many people, nations, religions and even victim family's think such "beyond preposterous" things as in being opposed to executing people.

It is striking how "persistent failure to follow its own execution protocols" caused problems and all. Why would following its own rules be thought to be a violation of due process [which sorta is in the Constitution, even if the person convicted did something really bad*), unless you are "imperious" or want to "give some love" to murderers or such? No idea, really.

* Like we have gun rights even though innocent people sometimes are killed by them.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 18, 2012 6:10:40 PM

I'm sorry, to quote someone else, for "whining" here, but near trolling appears to be the point of this comment stream.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 18, 2012 6:12:40 PM

Joe, this was a brutal crime, and final justice was way too long in coming.

As for the "imperious" comment, I don't think you can read Judge Frost's body of work on these LI cases and not come away with that view.

And Joe, the issue is not: "Why would following its own rules be thought to be a violation of due process", the issue, as you know, is whether Due Process requires the utter flyspecking of a state's execution procedure. Remember, this is a one-drug protocol, so there is zero risk of the pain that Baze was concerned about.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 18, 2012 8:43:09 PM

Good for Ohio good for the USA> Time to start executing these killers. Now Judge Frost has nothing to hang his hat on. A clean and thoroughly documenting lethal injection. Ohio now needs to reschedule the 4 executions it delayed already, and do it at a pace of more than 1 a month.

Posted by: DeanO | Apr 18, 2012 9:16:06 PM

There is no "brutal crime" exception to proper due process [some, e.g., probably don't like Scalia forcing little girls to go face to face with alleged rapists or to require them to testify again when key testimony is tossed because it was done wrong] and some reasonable disagreement on what is required (or if the STATE here is the one who kept on screwing up) doesn't change that or warrant your usual emotional appeals that talk about "love" of criminals or governors who should be "ashamed" or judges who are "imperious" or (if you don't like that) some other relevant adjective.

The issue is "due process" -- as has been repeatedly noted to you by other people, the state repeatedly didn't follow their own rules aka your "utter flyspecking" and was called out on it. Past comments underline that what you think that means is quite debatable. I have no idea what the Baze comment is supposed to mean. There is no "one single type" of pain or proper procedure that the ruling was concerned about. It set forth basic rules that can apply in various cases. And, the rulings here were for various things.

Your default rule for "all murders" has been long rejected, btw. Texas probably wouldn't want that sort of rule. "Preposterous" as that might seem to some.

[BTW, my first comment is riddled with typos. My apologies.]

Posted by: Joe | Apr 18, 2012 10:19:32 PM

Joe --

Give it a rest. The truth is you oppose the DP for anyone, anywhere, all the time. It makes no difference to you how cruel or grotesque the crime or how many victims. This due process stuff of yours is a smokescreen. A killer could get perfect due process and you'd still want to keep him around with the chance he'll do it again. Do you deny it?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 18, 2012 10:51:14 PM

Joe, there is no Due Process right or Equal Protection right to have an execution conducted exactly in accordance with the state's written down procedures. Thus, Judge Frost's anger at the wrong person certifying the time of death of an inmate is just plain silly, and you are silly for yapping about how the state got called out on it. The issue is the risk of serious pain under Baze. Since the one-drug protocol pretty much eliminates that, Frost's insistence on perfect compliance with the procedure says more about him than it does about the state of Ohio.

No one seriously defends Frost's reasoning, and it led to some pretty ridiculous arguments in his court (the federal public defenders actually argued that the ability of the warden to cut off the last statement was an equal protection problem)--of course, Frost invited this sort of silliness, since he wigged out about the wrong guy certifying death.

Frost is imperious, a terrible writer and not too swift on the uptake. When you cheerlead his actions, you own the rest of it. Like I've done before, I could go back and pull a bunch of quotes from his various oeuvres, but what would be the point? You don't defend his reasoning.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 19, 2012 7:07:44 AM

LOL i have to hand it to you fed!

takes a lot of balls to make a statement like this when your a lawyer!

"Joe, there is no Due Process right or Equal Protection right to have an execution conducted exactly in accordance with the state's written down procedures."

After all if it was even CLOSE TO FACT! Why would you have a policy and procedure to do ANYTHING! Why would there be 1,000's of lawsuits a YEAR for the express purpose to setup a Polcy and Procedure to be followed!

You should run for president! Since you can obviously dish it up out of both sides of your mouth!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 19, 2012 1:39:44 PM

The truth is you oppose the DP for anyone, anywhere, all the time.

Such is my ideal (reflecting the moral, pragmatic and legal beliefs of a diverse range of people, including those I disagree with on other issues) but it isn't currently the law in this country. It also isn't the immediate issue. The immediate issue is specific legal practices. Trying to make everything about what this or that person thinks is the ideal situation is a bit pointless.

It makes no difference to you how cruel or grotesque the crime or how many victims.

Yes, likewise, I oppose torture as a punishment, even for grotesque crimes. If basic rights, such as "beyond a reasonable doubt" standards might stop a conviction, again, I don't want to make an exception. Conservatives repeatedly tell me there are hard cases. There are some here. OTOH, we don't merely put the these people on death row and many states or nations do even put them there. Duly noted, you find such people & nations "preposterous" or whatever word you used recently.

This due process stuff of yours is a smokescreen. A killer could get perfect due process and you'd still want to keep him around with the chance he'll do it again. Do you deny it?

Yes. A specific thing wrong is being criticized & I am answering someone who caricatures the rightful concern raised on the matter. Serious people, such as yourself, can deal with narrower legal questions even if they rather in an ideal world that the question not even come up.

The system is not "perfect" but we can always imagine. As to the latter part, the population at large throughout our history only allowed the execution of a small subset of even heinous murderers. If you want to sneer at them, be my guest.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 21, 2012 2:59:09 PM

[The italics came out wrong. The above comment excerpt's Bill and then replies. The tone makes which is which fairly evident.]

Posted by: Joe | Apr 21, 2012 3:00:52 PM

The colors are so gorgeous Sandy! I am sure your quilt will be perfectly lovely! Wishing you a wonderful week! Angie xo

Posted by: Basketball Sneakers | Aug 6, 2012 5:40:53 AM

I have no connection to the legal or educational professions. My only interest here is as someone who knew the Klimas...I took riding lessons from Carol, purchased a horse from her, kept that horse stabled at Shakespeare Acres, and acted as the announcer at the Horse shows that were conducted there; in the course of the two or three years that I had this relationship with the Klimas I, of course, got to know Carol, Charlie, and Mark.
Today I was wondering how Carol and Charlie were doing, having known about Mark's death since close to the time it happened. I had lost touch with them since just a few months before it happened, and am saddened immeasurabl by the totally understandable, devastating effect it has had on them.
The article that I'm commenting on questions the protocols of Ohio's "Machinery of death" and, as a layman I am not officially qualified to comment this, I suppose, but, as a human being, and one who knows what a kind, intelligent, pleasant, and above all non-agressive youngster Mark Klima was, and what just plain nice people Carol and Charlie were, I feel that I am qualified. Therefore:
I find a couple things disappointing about this "machinery of death"; first and foremost, IT RUNS FAR TOO SLOWLY !! For it to take 26 years to rid the world of the sub-human garbage that was Mark Wyles is very nearly a crime in itself. I had to support this individual out of my tax money for those 26 years and from what I've read, probably in a better life style than my own ! ( I at least know beyond any shadow of a doubt that HE wasn't working full time while living in his car twice in the last 26 years as I was )
I am also dissappointed, and have been for many years, that our legal system doesn't allow for the prosecution of the morons on the parole board that allowed Wyles to be relaesed from prison making it possible for him to destroy the Klima family; If parole boards had to face prosecution, as accomplices, for any crimes commited by those thay parole, perhaps they might be a little more dilligent, and a little more careful about who they put back out on the streets.
My final but not the least of my disappointments, in the "machinery of death" is the concept of "cruel and unusual punishment that allows filth like Wyles a "humane" execution with none of the pain, grief, and suffering that he caused first to Mark Klima, and then to the rest of Mark's family. If we are a society that truly believes that the punishment should fit the crime, then in a case like this, why not bring back the old Norsemens "blood eagle" followed by drawing and quartering ?

Posted by: Mike Davis | Nov 17, 2012 2:57:11 PM

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