Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Retaliation - Gang shootout
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 11, 1996
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: April 22, 1977
Victim profile: Jessica Ballew, 3
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Youngstown, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on May 23, 1997. Commuted to life without the possibility of parole in November 2010

State of Ohio
Adult Parole Authority

clemency report

During the early morning hours of June 11, 1996, Sidney Cornwell, and some associates who belonged to a neighborhood gang in Youngstown drove up to an apartment building on Oak Park Lane with the intention of shooting a rival gang member.

When the intended victim was not seen, Cornwell opened fire on the occupants of an apartment, killing a three-year-old child and wounding three adults. Cornwell was subsequently convicted of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, and sentenced to death.

On the afternoon of the previous day, Cornwell and other members or associates of the “Crips” gang had been involved in a shootout with members of the “Bloods” gang on Elm Street at New York Avenue in Youngstown.


Child killer spared death penalty after Ohio governor shows mercy for his breast-growing condition

15th November 2010

Ohio's governor spared the life of a man facing execution Tuesday for killing a 3-year-old, in part because the convict had an undiagnosed medical condition that led to developmental disabilities and large breasts as a child.

Sidney Cornwell's sentence will be commuted to life without the possibility of parole, Governor Ted Strickland said Monday.

The Ohio Parole Board had recommended against mercy for Cornwell, but Strickland said jurors might have chosen a different sentence if they had known of the condition, called Klinefelter Syndrome.

The condition caused Cornwell to develop motor and language skills late and gave him large breasts as a boy, which led to repeated teasing.

Cornwell, 33, of Youngstown, was scheduled to die by injection Tuesday for the killing of Jessica Ballew.

The girl was on her porch in Youngstown in 1996 as Cornwell and other Crips gang members were hunting for a member of a rival gang. He opened fire on people who apparently knew his intended victim, killing the girl.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said he did not believe Cornwell deserved mercy.

'Although I disagree with the governor's decision, I respect his right to make that decision,' Gains said.

Cornwell's public defenders had cited the medical condition, in which males are born with an extra X chromosome, in seeking mercy. They also said Cornwell was abused by his father and fell under the influence of gangs as a teenager.

Seventeen men have been put to death since Strickland took office in 2007. Cornwell is the third death row inmate this year to be spared by the governor.

In September, Strickland cited 'legitimate questions' about evidence used to convict Kevin Keith, though he said he believed the inmate committed the crimes of which he was accused. In June, he also spared Richard Nields, who strangled his girlfriend during an argument, because of court decisions that questioned the appropriateness of a death sentence.

The decision is the last Strickland must make regarding a death penalty case. He was defeated in this month's election and will be succeeded by Republican John Kasich in January. Ohio's next execution is scheduled for Feb. 17.

Kasich also may have to address concerns about a shortage of a lethal injection drug that has prompted execution delays across the country.


Sidney Cornwell at his trial.


Sidney Cornwell on death row.


Jessica Ballew was 3 when Cornwell murdered her during a gang shootout.



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