The case of Ohio Death Row inmate Warren Waddy of Columbus illustrates why some people are frustrated with capital punishment. Waddy, 59, has been on Death Row for 9,300 days - more than 25 years - since his conviction for strangling 22-year-old Paula Mason of Columbus with a jump rope after breaking into her apartment, tying her up, and beating her. Ronald Reagan was president at the time.
The case of Ohio Death Row inmate Warren Waddy of Columbus illustrates why some people are frustrated with capital punishment.
Waddy, 59, has been on Death Row for 9,300 days — more than 25 years — since his conviction for strangling 22-year-old Paula Mason of Columbus with a jump rope after breaking into her apartment, tying her up, and beating her. Ronald Reagan was president at the time.
But Waddy’s case appears to have no resolution in sight. It is one of four cases cited in Attorney General Mike DeWine’s annual Capital Crimes report, released yesterday, as being held up in court due to claims that they should not be executed because of mental retardation. The case has cleared state courts, but layers of federal appeals remain untapped after a quarter-century of litigation.
DeWine’s report, which must be submitted by April 1 to the governor and state legislators, noted that five new death sentences were handed down in Ohio courts last year, including one for Caron E. Montgomery of Franklin County. Montgomery was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel for the Thanksgiving Day 2010 stabbing deaths of his former girlfriend, Tia Hendricks; the couple’s 2-year-old son, Tyron Hendricks; and her 10-year-old daughter, Tahlia Hendricks. The previous death sentence in Franklin County was in 2003 for James T. Conway III, who is on Death Row awaiting an execution date.
Ohio has executed 50 men since resuming capital punishment on Feb. 19, 1999, after a long hiatus. Wilford Berry, a Cleveland killer who voluntary waived his final appeals, was the first person executed in Ohio in 36 years.
There has been one execution this year, Frederick Treesh, of Cleveland, on March 6. Earlier this year, Gov. John Kasich commuted the death sentence of Ronald Post, of Elyria, to life without the possibility of parole. Four more executions are scheduled this year, with five slated in 2014 and two in 2015.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien asked the Ohio Supreme Court late last year to set an execution date for another local man, Alva Campbell, convicted for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials in 1997 after escaping from sheriff’s deputies on the way to a court hearing. A date has not been set.
The state has 142 people on Death Row, including one woman. That is a far cry from more than 200 a few years ago.
The report said there have been 18 commutations since 1991, including four by Kasich, five by former Gov. Ted Strickland, one by Gov. Bob Taft, and eight by Gov. Richard F. Celeste. In recent years, 23 Death Row inmates died of natural causes while awaiting execution.
The 50 killers executed so far were responsible for murdering 81 people, including 18 children.
The full report, including the legal status of all Death Row cases, is available online at http://bit.ly/XEQdfm.