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John Glenn ROE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 6, 1984
Date of arrest: November 6, 1984
Date of birth: April 4, 1962
Victim profile: Donette Crawford (female, 21)
Method of murder: Shooting (.357 magnum handgun)
Location: Franklin County, Ohio, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Ohio on February 3, 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 
petition for writ of certiorari
 
 
clemency report
 
 
 
 
 
 

Summary:

In the early morning hours of October 6, 1984, Donette Crawford left a tavern and drove her friend home. She then headed for her mother's house to pick up her 9 month old baby.

On the way, she stopped at a convenience store to buy cigarettes and was never seen alive again.

A month later, Roe was arrested breaking into a Radio Shack, and immediately wanted to deal information that he had about the murder of a missing woman.

Roe claimed that a person named Jerry had shot the woman in the face and dumped her body behind a cement plant in Columbus.

Roe described Donette's car, stated the woman was possibly shot with a .357 magnum handgun, and gave details including a map of the location of the body.

On November 15, 1984, the area described by Roe was searched, and the decomposed remains of Donette Crawford were discovered, identified with dental records. She had been shot in the back of the head. A .357 revolver was recovered from Roe and traced back to a burglary for which he was earlier convicted and served time.

Ballistics evidence confirmed that a .38 caliber bullet fragment recovered from Donette's skull had been fired from Roe's revolver.

Friend's of Roe also testified that Roe had admitted killing a woman to them days after the murder, but they did not at the time take him seriously. Roe had been out of prison for just 25 days prior to the murder.

A cellmate, Vincent Boyd, testified that Roe had admitted the details of the abduction and murder to him in jail. Boyd's two to ten year prison sentence was reduced to six months in the Franklin County jail as a result of his willingness to testify at trial.

Citations:

State v. Roe , Not Reported in N.E.2d (Ohio App. Aug. 25, 1987).
State v. Roe , 535 N.E.2d 1351 (Ohio App. March 22, 1989). (Direct Appeal)
Roe v. Ohio, 110 S.Ct. 1535 (1990) (Cert. Denied).
Roe v. Baker, 316 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 2002). (Habeas)
Roe v. Baker, 124 S.Ct. 140 (2003) (Cert. Denied).

Final Meal:

A medium-well T-bone steak with steak sauce, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, butter-pecan ice cream and root beer.

Final Words:

Asked if he had any final words, Roe maintained his innocence. He again accused prosecutors of lying and blamed a jailhouse snitch whose testimony helped to convict him. "God is my witness, and you're killing an innocent man today."

ClarkProsecutor.org

 
 

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Inmate #: 183047
Inmate: Roe, John G.
DOB: 04/04/62
County of Conviction: Franklin
Date of Murder: 10/06/84
Received at DOC: 12/06/85 - Mansfield Correctional Institution.
Offenses: KIDNAPPING, AGG ROBBERY, AGG MURDER, ESCAPE, B & E, B & E, B & E, DRUG LAW VIOLATION, VANDALISM.

 
 

ProDeathPenalty.com

On 10/6/84, Roe murdered 21-year-old Donette Crawford in Columbus. Roe kidnapped Donette in her car, shot her in the back of the head and stole her car and money.

After his arrest for an unrelated breaking and entering charge, Roe agreed to provide police with information about the murder and correctly disclosed the location of Donette's body. Roe also admitted the murder to an acquaintance who, in turn, told police.

On the evening of October 5, 1984, Donette Crawford left her infant daughter with her parents on the west side of Columbus and went with a friend to a tavern in the north end of Columbus.

Donette had cashed her paycheck that day and locked most of her money in her car before entering the tavern. The pair left the tavern around 2:15 a.m. on October 6. Donette's friend drove the car to her home while Donette sat on the passenger's side, looking for her cigarettes.

Upon leaving her friend at her home on the west side of Columbus, Donette told her she was going to pick up her daughter and go home, which was less than a mile away. On her way, and between 2:40 and 3:00 a.m., Donette stopped at a nearby convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes. An acquaintance of Donette's last saw her as she left the store and continued west.

At approximately 5:30 a.m., Donette's mother, who was concerned that Donette had not returned to pick up her daughter, telephoned the friend she had gone out with and Donette's common-law husband, Steve, to find out where Donette might be. When she learned that neither party had seen nor heard from Donette, her mother began looking for her.

Later that Saturday morning, when Donette's father went looking for her, he found his daughter's empty car parked in the parking lot of St. Agnes Church on the same street as the store. The car had been ransacked, and the keys were later found in a flower bed at the church. Donette's wallet, purse, and money were never found.

The next night, a clothing store on the near east side of Columbus was broken into through a hole in the wall, and a considerable amount of clothing was taken. A security guard was hired to watch the building on Sunday night, October 7, 1984. At 8:05 p.m., the guard observed a car pull into a lot near the store.

The driver in the car waited about five minutes and then got out and proceeded to walk to the clothing store. He then entered the store through the hole in the wall. The police were called and the guard attempted to block the hole with his vehicle, but the subject, a slim white male with long hair, slipped out and ran.

The guard gave chase and fired three shots at the subject, who nevertheless escaped. The subject's car was impounded and later identified as being registered to Roe. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Roe's mother, Joyce Lucas, took Roe to the home of some friends and asked if he could stay with them overnight.

Roe had been shot in the foot, which, he explained, occurred while running from a store he had broken into that night. Roe then characterized the event as minor when compared to his shooting of a woman in the head the previous Friday night. The couple that night dismissed his description of the murder as in keeping with his character as a braggart.

A month later, on November 6, 1984, Roe was arrested with Moses Stevens while breaking into a Radio Shack store in Beavercreek, Ohio. Once in custody, Roe was read his rights, which he waived, agreeing to speak with the police. After discussing his breaking and entering charges, Roe offered that he had information regarding a missing woman in Columbus - information that she had been killed and that he knew who was involved and where the body could be found.

Roe indicated he wished to exchange this information to deal with his current charges. Beavercreek detectives then asked Roe if he would like to talk about it later, and Roe agreed.

The next day, Roe claimed that a person named Jerry had shot the woman in the face and dumped her body behind a cement plant on Alum Creek Drive in Columbus.

Roe described Donette's car, stated the woman was possibly shot with a .357 magnum handgun, and gave details including a map of the location of the body. He then indicated his willingness to talk to Columbus police about Donette.

Detectives verified the information about the missing woman with Columbus police and then arranged for them to talk with Roe. On November 12, 1984, two Columbus police detectives went to the cement plant to familiarize themselves with the area and then drove to the Greene County Jail to talk with Roe. Roe repeated his earlier description of the body's location, and of Jerry's involvement, and tentatively identified photographs of Donette and her car.

On November 15, 1984, the area described by Roe was searched, and the decomposed remains of Donette Crawford were discovered. The remains were identified by the clothing found with them and by use of Donette's dental records. A hole, consistent with a gunshot wound, was located in the lower back right portion of the skull. However, subsequent investigation of the person named Jerry that Roe implicated in Donette's murder, including a polygraph examination, excluded him as a suspect.

On November 20, 1984, Detective Judy met with an anonymous caller, who was later identified as the man at whose home Roe had spent the night, who conveyed his information concerning Roe's statement about a murder he had committed in October.

Further investigation turned up Roe's weapon, a Ruger Security Six .357 magnum revolver. This weapon was traced back to a burglary of a gun shop in Kirkersville, Ohio, on September 8, 1982.

Roe had committed two break-ins of the same gun shop in March 1981, had served jail time thereon, and was suspected of having committed the September 8 break-in as well. Other weapons stolen from the gun shop were later recovered from Roe's parents' home. Ballistics evidence indicated that a .38 caliber bullet fragment recovered from Donette's skull had been fired from Roe's revolver.

UPDATE: Death row inmate John Glenn Roe, who maintains his innocence in the shooting death of 20-yearold Donette Crawford, is scheduled to die on Feb. 3. The disturbing execution of his friend Lewis Williams Jr. left Columbus killer John Glenn Roe wondering: How will I die? "I'm feeling nervous, scared, anxious," Roe said during an interview on death row at the Mansfield Correctional Institution. "I definitely ain't ready for it. I don't think Lew Williams was ready for it. I don't think you ever can get ready for something like that."

But the younger sister of Donette Crawford, the Columbus woman Roe abducted and murdered on Oct. 6, 1984, said she's glad Roe is afraid. "I think he should be nervous and he should be scared," Michelle Crawford of Columbus said. "My sister was scared to death and he didn't care."

Crawford plans to witness Roe's execution, scheduled for Feb. 3 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville. "He laughed about it. It was all a joke. Now he's not laughing too much, is he?" Crawford said. "I totally believe once he's gone, I can put her to rest and I can go on."

Roe and Williams were teamed in a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Public Defender challenging one of the lethal drugs used as cruel and unusual punishment. The argument was rejected by the 6 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Roe said he fears what the muscle-paralyzing drug Pavulon will do to him. "Lewis read that it was like you were in a tomb or a coma and suffocated," he said. "Suffocation has always been my biggest fear."

Roe denied killing Crawford, saying he was breaking into a video-game store on the East Side at the time the 20-year-old woman was abducted from a West Side convenience store and killed. "I'm a real person. I'm innocent. I don't want to die like this," Roe said.

Roe contended he and "an associate" found Crawford's body buried in a shallow grave off Alum Creek Drive while they searched for bricks behind a cement plant. He said he does not know who killed Crawford. Roe had been out of prison for just 25 days when Crawford was killed by a single shot from a .357 Ruger revolver. Ballistics tests tied Roe's gun to the bullet that killed Crawford.

That, combined with him locating the body, convicted him. But he doesn't believe his death will bring closure to the Crawford family. "My death won't bring nobody back. A lot of people worrying about dying. I don't know what movie it was, but they said everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. I think I can accept death, I just don't want to accept death like this." Toni Jester of Columbus, Donette Crawford's friend who had been with her earlier on the night she died, said she has suffered 20 years of guilt because she was not with her in her final hours. Crawford dropped off Jester at her home on the West Side, then stopped at a convenience store for cigarettes. Her family never saw her alive again. "It's going to be justice for her," Jester said. "It's not about mercy for him."

 
 

Ohio Executes Condemned Central Ohio Killer

Roe Described As 'Cranky' In Hours Leading To Death

NBC4Columbus.com

February 3, 2004

LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- The state on Tuesday executed a convicted killer for shooting a young mother 20 years ago, making him the second condemned inmate to argue unsuccessfully that the state's chemical injection was cruel and unusual punishment. Guards needed about 20 minutes to insert shunts to carry a deadly mixture of muscle relaxant and a heart-stopping drug into John Glenn Roe's veins. He was pronounced dead at 10:24 a.m., nearly a half-hour after his scheduled execution time.

Roe, the 10th inmate to be put to death since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999, entered the death chamber at 10:12 a.m. after guards finally placed the shunts near his wrists. Despite the delay in inserting the shunts, which is viewed by witnesses, Roe remained calm throughout the execution. Inside the death chamber, Roe glared at the family of his victim, Donette Crawford, 20, of Columbus.

Asked if he had any final words, Roe maintained his innocence. He again accused prosecutors of lying and blamed a jailhouse snitch whose testimony helped to convict him. "God is my witness, and you're killing an innocent man today," Roe said. While Roe was looking at Crawford's family, Donette Crawford's sister Michelle patted her sweatshirt bearing a picture of Donette and whispered, "Look at her picture, buddy, right here."

NewsChannel 4 learned that at 8:42 a.m., Roe wrote a letter that the warden sent to the Ohio Supreme Court. In the note, which is four sentences long, Roe asks for a stay based on a claim that he is retarded and never got a hearing, NewsChannel 4's Nancy Burton reported. At 9:57 a.m., the Ohio Supreme Court faxes the warden a response denying the claim.

Roe's execution was the first since Lewis Williams struggled with guards in the death chamber before his execution on Jan. 14. Williams also argued the constitutionality of the state's use of Pavulon, a muscle-paralyzing drug that stops an inmate's breathing. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Roe's request for a stay of execution, which was based on the argument that Ohio's method of execution causes undue pain.

Roe had no other motions pending. Williams claimed in his appeal that Pavulon may not render the inmate unconscious while a drug that would stop his heart is injected. Some states won't let such a mixture be used to put down animals because of concerns about unnecessary pain by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Roe grabbed Crawford from her car on the city's west side in 1984, choked, then shot and robbed her, court records show. She was the mother of a 9-month-old girl. Roe became "cranky" with guards assigned to execute him Tuesday morning and was emotional with family members, a prisons spokeswoman said. Roe, 41, arrived Monday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility from death row in Mansfield.

His final dinner, referred to as a "special meal" by prison officials, was a medium-well T-bone steak with steak sauce, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, butter-pecan ice cream and root beer. He ate roast beef and ham sandwiches later Monday but refused breakfast Tuesday morning, said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Roe slept from about 3:10 a.m. to 5:46 a.m., Dean said.

Roe grew irritable when he found out that the Supreme Court turned down his appeal but seemed to accept he would die, Dean said. Roe's mother, Joyce Lucas, and her husband, Henry, were at the prison Tuesday but did not witness the execution. His attorney and spiritual adviser were his witnesses. Crawford's father, Don; and her fiance, Steve Steiner, also attended.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday turned down Roe's request to postpone the execution. Roe's public defenders also said two 6th Circuit senior judges should not have been allowed to rule on his request for a delay last month. The appeals court refused to reconsider its decision. Roe claimed he was innocent of Crawford's murder. He said he was robbing a video game store on the other side of town at the time of Crawford's abduction. His lawyers did not bring up that claim during his clemency hearing on Jan. 8.

Roe was arrested for breaking and entering at a Radio Shack in suburban Dayton one month after Crawford's slaying. He was on parole and afraid of going back to prison, so he told Beavercreek police where Crawford's body could be found, he said. He said he figured he could reach a deal that would keep him out of prison. He said he found Crawford's body while looking for cement blocks to put around a fireplace. He said he had kept quiet because he knew he'd draw police attention to his record.

 
 

High court denies inmate's appeal of execution today at Lucasville

Cleveland Plain Dealer

AP - February 3, 2004

COLUMBUS - An inmate's request for a stay of execution was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night, clearing the way for him to die by lethal injection.

Earlier Monday, lawyers for 41-year-old John Glenn Roe had appealed to the high court to spare him from execution for the 1984 slaying of a 20-year-old Columbus woman, saying Ohio's method of execution causes undue pain.

A spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said Monday night that Roe has no other motions pending, so his execution today at 10 a.m. should proceed. "It appears the execution is moving forward," spokeswoman Kim Norris said.

Roe arrived Monday morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville from death row in Mansfield. He had his final dinner of a medium- well T-bone steak with steak sauce, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, butter-pecan ice cream and root beer.

Roe was sentenced to death for the abduction and murder of Donette Crawford of Columbus. He grabbed Crawford from her car and strangled, shot and robbed her, court records show. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday turned down Roe's request to postpone the execution. Roe's public defenders appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. They say two 6th Circuit senior judges should not have been allowed to rule on his request for a postponement last month. The appeals court refused to reconsider its decision.

The public defender's office also claimed in its appeal the use of Pavulon, a muscle relaxant, may not render the inmate unconscious while a drug that would stop his heart is injected. Some states won't let such a mixture be used to put down animals because of concerns expressed by the American Veterinary Medical Association about unnecessary pain.

The subject has been raised in about a half-dozen states, energized by the Supreme Court's decision in December to consider an appeal from David Larry Nelson, an Alabama death row inmate who contends that his collapsed veins would require prison officials to cut deep into his flesh to insert the needle. That constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, Nelson says. The nation's highest court refused to block the Jan. 14 execution of Lewis Williams on his appeal over the use of Pavulon.

Roe claimed he was innocent of Crawford's murder. He said he was robbing a video game store on the other side of town at the time of Crawford's abduction. His lawyers did not bring up that claim during his clemency hearing on Jan. 8. The Ohio attorney general's office said Monday that Roe's appeals had no merit. "There's no question of Mr. Roe's guilt," Norris said.

Crawford's disappearance prompted several newspaper stories and talk of a reward fund. Roe was arrested for breaking and entering at a Radio Shack in suburban Dayton one month after Crawford's slaying. He was on parole and afraid of going back to prison, so he told Beavercreek police where Crawford's body could be found, he said. He said he figured he could reach a deal that would keep him out of prison.

 
 

Ohio Killer Executed for Murder of Young Mother

TheDeathHouse.com

February 3, 2004

LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- A man who kidnapped the young mother of a nine-month old baby and then fired a bullet into her head was executed by lethal injection at the state prison Tuesday morning. John Roe, 41, became the tenth condemned killer put to death in the state since executions resumed in 1999. The execution occurred at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Roe went into the death house at 10:12 a.m. and was declared dead from the lethal injection of chemicals at 10:24 a.m.

The Associated Press reported that it took guards 20 minutes to insert shunts into Roe's veins to carry the chemicals that would kill him. The AP reported that Roe reamined calm as the shunts were inserted. Roe used his last statement to once again claim he was innocent of the murder, accusing prosecutors of lying and using a jailhouse snitch to help convict him. “God is my witness, and you’re killing an innocent man today,” the AP quoted Roe as saying.

Roe was the second condemned killer executed in Ohio in 2004. On Jan. 14, Lewis Williams was executed for the murder of an elderly woman in Cleveland. Williams had to be carried, screaming and crying, to the death gurney. In their last-ditch efforts to save Roe's life, defense lawyers told the Ohio Parole Board during a clemency hearing that Roe was brought up in an abusive family and, as a child, forced by his mother to shoplift.

Roe's date with death was sealed when the U.S. Supreme Court once again rejected a claim by defense lawyers that lethal injection causes the condemned prisoner to suffer and, is therefore, cruel and unusual punishment. The high court has recently rejected similar claims brought by other condemned killers. For his last meal, Roe ordered a T-bone steak, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, ice cream and root beer.

Roe was condemned to death for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of a young mother in Columbus on Oct. 5, 1984. The victim was Donette R. Crawford, 21, who was the mother of a nine-month old child. Her decomposed body was found a month after she was reported missing.

Roe, arrested on a burglary charge, told police where the body was located, but said another man had killed her by shooting the victim in the head. On the night she was murdered, Crawford had left her child with her parents to go with a female friend to a Columbus tavern. When the two friends left the tavern, Crawford was last seen stopping at a convenience store to buy cigarettes.

Vehicle Ransacked, Abandoned

When Crawford didn't return home, her mother searched for her. Crawford's father later found his daughter's car parked in a church parking lot. The vehicle had been ransacked and the keys found in a flower bed. The woman's wallet, purse and money were never found. Later in October 1984, a break-in was reported at a clothing store. A security guard was hired to guard the store. The next day, he saw a man drive up in a car and go through a hole in the wall into the store. The security guard chased the man, firing three shots as he fled on foot. The car was later identified as belonging to Roe.

Shot In Foot

One of the shots apparently struck Roe in the foot. The next day, his mother took him to stay with friends. Roe reportedly told them that the foot wound was nothing compared to shooting a woman in the head the night before. In November 1984, Roe was arrested for burglarizing a Radio Shack store in Beavercreek. He told police he had information about a missing woman in Columbus.

He said she had been shot in the head by another man. Roe drew police a map leading them to where the body was buried. Police found the remains, identified them as Crawford's and found that she had been shot in the head. The murder weapon, a .357 magnum, was later linked to Roe. He had broken into a gun shop and taken the weapon.

 
 

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

John Roe, OH - Feb. 3, 10 AM EST

The state of Ohio is scheduled to execute John Roe, a white man, Feb. 3 for the 1985 death of Donette Crawford in Columbus. The execution is scheduled for 10 a.m. EST. Mr. Roe was the first person to be sentenced to death after Ohio reinstated capital punishment in 1983.

Ms. Crawford disappeared late one night after stopping at a convenience store. A month later, Mr. Roe was arrested in connection with a robbery. Anxious to avoid prison time, he offered to exchange information in the case of Ms. Crawford’s disappearance in exchange for leniency. He told the police that Ms. Crawford had been killed by a jealous boyfriend, gave the name of the suspect, and drew a map that led them to her body.

However, ballistic evidence linked the bullet found in Ms. Crawford to a gun turned over to the police by the girlfriend of Mr. Roe’s accomplice in an earlier robbery. Mr. Roe was arrested and allegedly confessed to killing Ms. Crawford to his cellmate Vincent Boyd. Mr. Boyd was serving a two- to ten-year prison sentence that was reduced to six months in exchange for his testimony against Mr. Roe.

Like many other death row inmates, Mr. Roe was abused as a child and began using drugs at a young age. Several people testified at trial that he was not a violent man, however. A study done through Columbia University found that nationally two-thirds of all capital cases were overturned due to constitutional errors. Ohio courts have only an eight percent reversal rate, and a report by the Ohio Public Defender service shows that the Ohio Supreme Court “basically rubber-stamps” lower court decisions in capital cases. “I can only believe it’s a sign of failure,” commented Ohio Public Defender David Bodiker on the Ohio Supreme Court’s rate of reversal, “no matter what the case, what the circumstance, we believe they’ll find a way to affirm it.”

Essentially this means that cases involving constitutional errors, police and prosecutorial misconduct, and actual innocence are pushed blindly through the system. In Mr. Roe’s case, involving his life or his death, this negligence borders on criminal. There is no evidence that conclusively proves his guilt; thus he should not be executed.

Please contact Gov. Taft and urge him to declare a moratorium on Ohio executions and commute the death sentence of John Roe.

 
 

State executes convicted killer after struggling to find veins

By John McCarthy - Akron Beacon Journal

February 3, 2004

LUCASVILLE, Ohio - A murderer who lost his appeal that lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment was executed Tuesday after prison workers struggled to find veins to insert the deadly chemical mix. The difficulty inserting shunts in his arms delayed John Glenn Roe's execution by about 20 minutes. His death at 10:24 a.m. for the 1984 shooting of a young Columbus mother was the 10th execution since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999 and the first since an inmate resisted guards before his execution Jan. 14.

Roe, 41, lay calmly on the bed in his death-house cell 11 minutes after his execution was scheduled to begin as health workers poked around his arms and witnesses watched through a glass window.

The shunts, where a needle carrying a mix of muscle relaxant and a heart-stopping drug are inserted, could not be installed in his forearms, the normal location. Instead, the workers found they were able to penetrate veins near his wrists. Three witnesses for the victim, 20-year-old Donette Crawford, held hands as Roe was prepared for execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Her sister, Michelle, patted her sweat shirt bearing a picture of Donette and whispered, "Look at her picture, buddy, right here."

Roe, asked if he had any last words, again proclaimed his innocence and apologized for lies he said prosecutors told about him. "God is my witness, and you're killing an innocent man today," he said. Don Crawford, Donette's father, said Roe was a liar to the end, referring to Roe's final innocence claim. Donette's fiance, Steve Steiner, also was a witness.

Roe grabbed Crawford from her car on the Columbus' west side, choked, then shot and robbed her, court records show. She left a 9-month-old girl.

One other Ohio execution was delayed because of a similar injection problem. In 1999, difficulty inserting a needle into Wilford Berry's right arm delayed Ohio's first execution since 1963 for more than 20 minutes. The state's last execution Jan. 14 was the first time witnesses saw members of the execution team insert the needles. The decision by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to allow the process to be viewed settled a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in September. At that execution, Lewis Williams struggled with guards and pleaded for his life until he died.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Roe's request to block his execution based on the argument that the use of a muscle relaxant might not render him unconscious before a heart-stopping drug was injected, making the execution cruel. Williams made the same argument before his execution. Some states won't let such a mixture be used to put down animals because of concerns about unnecessary pain by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Roe's lead attorney, assistant public defender Ruth Tkacz, said Roe clearly suffered during his execution. His breathing became irregular before his body lay still. "Although it may appear he's going to sleep, it is cruel and unusual punishment," said Tkacz, who witnessed the execution, along with an investigator from her office and Roe's spiritual adviser.

Roe admitted to a life of crime, which first landed him in jail at age 16. He spent only 535 days of his adult life outside of jail. He was born two months after John Glenn's history-making 1962 orbit of the Earth and was named for the astronaut. Roe claimed he was robbing a video game store on the other side of town at the time of Crawford's abduction. He was arrested on unrelated charges a month after Crawford's slaying and told police where her body could be found. He claimed he knew where it was only because he had seen it while looking for cement blocks, and he told police hoping to reach a deal to keep out of prison.

Hours before his execution, Roe became "cranky" with guards assigned to execute and was emotional with family members who visited, prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean said.

 
 

Ohio Public Defender

Press Release February 3, 2004

John Glenn Roe Executed; Debate Over Lethal Injection, Questions Sixth Circuit Voting Continue.

(Columbus) - At 10 a.m. today, the State of Ohio executed John Glenn Roe. Roe is the second Ohio inmate executed since questions were raised over the constitutionality of the drugs used in Ohio’s lethal injection protocol.

Ohio’s lethal injection protocol includes a paralyzing agent, pancuronium bromide, that could leave the inmate conscious before death, but cast a chemical veil over the excruciatingly painful effects of death by suffocation and heart attack. Veterinarians forbid using the same types of drugs for euthanizing pets, in order to avoid inflicting pain on the animals. Judges in some states have granted stays of execution in response to similar lawsuits. “We wouldn't put a stray dog to sleep with the drugs we use to execute human beings,” argued State Public Defender David Bodiker. “Apparently, veterinarians worry more about torturing pets than Ohio’s executioners worry about torturing human beings.”

Controversy over Roe’s execution also surrounds questionable voting in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. In their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Roe’s lawyers argued that Roe’s “constitutional rights to due process were violated when an invalid group of appellate judges manipulated en banc rules to trump a valid majority’s decisions to stay his execution and hear his appeal….” Judge Eric Clay, in his dissenting opinion to the Sixth Circuit’s Jan. 30 ruling, argued against the voting methods employed by the Court:

… the decision of this Court to conduct another vote on whether to hear Roe’s appeal en banc, combined with Judge Cook’s participation in that vote, has created the perception that certain members of this Court have manipulated the process to avoid, what is in their view, the unfavorable result of the January 13th poll. This outcome unfortunately conveys the impression of a result-oriented process rather than an orderly process which seeks to preserve the appearance and reality of due process.

 
 

Another inmate executed in state -- Murderer John Glenn Roe put to death

By Paul E. Kostyu - The Times-Reporter

February 4, 2004

LUCASVILLE – John Glenn Roe apologized on the execution table but not for the murder of Donette Crawford. Instead, he blamed others for lying about him and newspapers for not doing more to help him. Like Lewis Williams Jr. last month, Roe professed his innocence to the end. “I’m actually innocent,” he said before a lethal dose of three drugs killed him Tuesday. “God is my witness. I did not commit this crime. You are killing an innocent man today.” “That son of a bitch never quits does he,” said Don Crawford, the victim’s father and a witness to the execution. The state executed Roe, an admitted drug addict and thief, at 10:24 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

Media witnesses complained that a camera set up in Roe’s holding cell where he was prepared for execution robbed them of viewing the entire procedure. The television monitor witnesses watched came on after Roe already was on the preparation table and his head and shoulders were blocked from view. During the execution of Williams, witnesses had a broader field of vision and could see him struggle with guards. Prison officials said the camera was moved to a new location for the “convenience” of the execution team.

Roe was convicted of the October 1984 shooting death of Crawford, 20, the mother of a 9-month-old girl. She was abducted outside a convenience store on the southwest side of Columbus. Roe’s .357-caliber Ruger was the murder weapon. Her body was found about seven miles away on the city’s southeast side in a field behind a cement plant where Roe said he and “an associate” were looking for bricks to build a fireplace “out in the woods.”

“I felt no sorrow for that man whatsoever,” Crawford said later as tears welled up in his eyes. “The last words out of his mouth on his death bed and he’s lying.” Crawford’s wife, who did not witness the execution, collapsed distraught in a chair just after 16 members of the Crawford family entered a room at the prison to speak to journalists. Crawford said his wife could not accept Roe’s professed innocence. Calling Roe a “piece of dirt,” Crawford said, “I feel after 19 years finally justice has been served, but it won’t bring no solace to me or my wife or my family. Every day of my life and our life we’ve been thinking about my daughter. We’ve raised our granddaughter, and she’s almost identical to Donette. “We’ve had hell, and we’ve had happiness. The hell will still go on. This won’t bring any closure to us. I’m not happy, but I’m satisfied. I’m glad justice has been served.”

As he entered the execution chamber, Roe stared intently at Crawford, his daughter Michelle and Donette’s fiancé Steve Steiner as the three stared back while holding hands. Eight feet and a wall of thick glass separated them. “Right here,” said Michelle Crawford patting the picture of her sister within a heart shape on the T-shirt she was wearing. “Look at her picture right here buddy.” Just before Warden James S. Haviland declared Roe dead, Steiner said, “It doesn’t seem inhumane to me.”

After witnessing her client’s death, Ruth Tkacz, an assistant Ohio public defender, said the difficulty the execution team had getting shunts into Roe’s arms shows that the process is cruel. Prison officials had trouble finding veins in both of Roe’s arms. The process took 20 minutes, which was longer than earlier executions. Shunts eventually were put near both wrists. Normally, they are near an inmate’s elbow. Unlike Williams, Roe did not resist during the execution process, partly because he took a sedative. His 5-foot, 6-inch and 235-pound body lay nearly motionless on the preparation table. When he came into the execution room he used a step stool to climb onto the execution table. Williams had to be carried in.

Andrea Dean, a spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said Roe was “rather cranky with us” and “quite emotional with his family” Monday night, particularly after learning that the U.S. Supreme Court had turned down his last request for a stay. “He’s just irritable,” she said. Gov. Bob Taft rejected Roe’s appeal for clemency last week, and the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay Monday night.

Roe’s stepfather and mother, Harry and Joyce Lucas, were at the prison Tuesday but did not witness their son’s execution. Instead, Roe had Tkacz; Rev. Gary Sims, the department’s religious services administrator; and John Lee, an investigator with the Public Defender’s office, as his witnesses. Roe had no breakfast Tuesday excepts sips of root beer while smoking cigarettes. Monday night he had T-bone steak, A-1 Steak Sauce, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, butter-pecan ice cream and root beer. He later had ham and roast beef sandwiches, strawberry ice cream and root beer.

Roe was the 10th person executed since Ohio resumed executions in 1999. The next is William Dean Wickline, who is scheduled to die on March 30.

 
 

Life on death row -- John Glenn Roe scheduled to be executed on Feb. 3

By Paul E. Kostyu - The Times-Reporter

January 23, 2004

MANSFIELD – With less than two weeks to his scheduled execution, John Glenn Roe maintained his innocence this week and said the state “will probably have to murder me because I’m not ready. I ain’t never going to be ready.” In an interview with Copley Ohio Newspapers just steps from his Death Row cell at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, Roe blamed prosecutors, a jailhouse snitch, his court-appointed attorneys, the trial judge and his own stupidity for leaving him with little hope to escape a deadly combination of three drugs on Feb. 3.

Roe, an admitted drug addict, thief and school dropout, was convicted for the Oct. 6, 1984, shooting death of Donette Crawford in Columbus The mother of a 9-month-old girl, she was abducted outside a conven-ience store on the city’s southwest side. Roe’s .357 Ruger was the murder weapon. Her body was found about seven miles away on the city’s southeast side in a field behind a cement plant where Roe said he and “an associate” were looking for bricks to build a fireplace “out in the woods.” Roe wouldn’t comment about how his gun was involved.

Roe also has said that a man named Jerry Powell killed Crawford and told him where the body was located. He now says he initially blamed a childhood friend for the murder under pressure from police. He blames Vincent Boyd, a prisoner he met in the Franklin County jail, for twisting information to get a better deal for himself. Roe said his lawyers have talked to Boyd, who sticks to his story implicating Roe in the murder.

Roe, whose feet were shackled to a newly installed bolt on an office room floor during the interview, fingered his handcuffs and the chains that bound them around his waist as he talked. He sported a faded tattoo on his left forearm. The Ohio Parole Board last week unanimously denied Roe clemency, citing his continuing denial of responsibility in the murder. Now Roe’s last chance rests with Gov. Bob Taft, who is expected to decide soon whether to commute Roe’s sentence. Roe said he hopes Taft gives his case “an honest look. I hope he looks at my side and not just the prosecutor’s side.”

The odds are against the Belmont County native, who grew up in Franklin County when he wasn’t in prison. Taft has granted clemency once since 1999. Nine other murderers have been executed by lethal injection, the last, Lewis Williams Jr., on Jan. 14.

Crawford’s sister Michelle Crawford has said in published reports that she plans to witness Roe’s execution and hopes he is scared about it. Roe, 41, has been in and out of the state’s prison system since he was a young teenager and convicted of boosting car radios, speakers and tires and breaking into businesses, taking money and items that he later would fence. He said it seemed he was never out of prison more than “40 or 50 days” before being locked up again. But he said he didn’t do violent crimes, just fourth-degree breaking and enterings because he knew “it didn’t carry much time. I never done no robberies.”

He claims a breaking and entering on the night of Crawford’s murder is his alibi, but he didn’t get caught and there were no witnesses. He said he stole a couple radios from a game store in the same vicinity where Crawford was found. He said he didn’t have a car and so could not have abducted her. His mother kept those stolen radios for 10 years hoping they would help prove her son’s innocence. She eventually threw them away.

Roe was hesitant to talk about his mother saying only he started his life of crime shoplifting with her. “I think she has been through enough hell,” he said, adding that he talks with her regularly by phone and she visits the prison monthly. She’s expected to visit today. He doesn’t want her or his family to witness his death. “I don’t think I could take it from them if they wanted to be there,” he said, “but I wouldn’t want them there.” Roe’s father died when he was 8 or 9. Roe said his dad was an alcoholic who beat him and his five brothers and sister.

A bald, pale and sad-looking Roe, who sports a goatee and looks older than he is, talked about his life, dressed in the same type of prison clothes he will wear into the execution chamber – a white, short-sleeve shirt and dark blue pants with a reddish gold stripe down each leg. He wore black and white sneakers.

Roe said he dropped out of the 10th grade because he “couldn’t do the work.” It was “embarrassing sitting in class.” He missed school regularly and cut classes when he was there. Roe said he couldn’t read or write and flunked at least one grade. But he advanced from one grade to the next only “because of my age. If they would have flunked me one more time I would have been driving a car to junior high school.”

He said it was difficult to find work when he wasn’t in prison. Because he couldn’t read or write, he couldn’t fill out job applications. Roe said he got one job at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant after his mother filled out the application for him. “But that lasted to about three or four weeks until I got locked up,” he said. After the interview, Roe offered his hand to shake, a guard unlocked his chains from the floor and Roe shuffled back toward his cell on Death Row.

 
 

Roe claims innocence as execution nears

Chillicothe Gazette

MANSFIELD -- While John Glenn Roe's lawyers were asking the state to spare his life because of his upbringing in a criminal, abusive family, the inmate sat on death row, hoping his public defenders would proclaim his innocence. They didn't. They said Roe's mother took him shoplifting as a child and that his often-drunk father abused him. Not once did they say he was innocent of murder. Roe admits to a life of crime, which first landed him in jail at 16. His first trip to prison as an adult was for breaking and entering and escape. He was 19.

But Roe says he didn't abduct and strangle Donette Crawford, shoot her in the head and leave her body in a stand of trees near a cement plant on Oct. 6, 1984. She was 20 and the mother of a 9-month-old girl. "I've been a thief. I've been locked up for being a thief," Roe said. "I've never killed nobody." Others connected with the case say the evidence against him was overwhelming and he deserves to be executed Tuesday. On Tuesday, he will have spent only 535 days of his adult life outside of jail. He said he turned to theft "as a way of life." It's just something I always did."

Crawford reported his daughter missing two days after her death. It would be more than a month before he found out she was dead. Donette Crawford's disappearance was covered heavily by Columbus newspapers and there was talk of a reward fund for the capture of her killer.

Roe was arrested for breaking and entering at a Radio Shack in suburban Dayton. He was on parole and afraid of going back to prison, so he told Beavercreek police where Crawford's body could be found. He said he figured he could reach a deal that would keep him on the outside. He said he found Crawford's body while looking for cement blocks to put around a fireplace. He said he had kept quiet because he knew he'd draw police attention to his record. Columbus police interviewed him but, he said, thought he knew more about the case. So he said he concocted a story, saying an acquaintance had admitted to killing Crawford. "They just kept saying they needed more information, that ain't enough," Roe said. "I just made it up."

He claimed he was burglarizing a video game store when Crawford was abducted. He said a jailhouse snitch was coached by prosecutors into blaming Roe for the killing. George Ellis, a prosecutor on the case, said an inmate who testified against Roe was removed from Roe's holding area in the county jail when he volunteered to testify. There was no coaching, Ellis said. "Part of Roe's problem is his story has changed," Ellis said. "One thing that cooks him is it's his gun. He now admits it's his gun, but he initially denied it's his gun." A bullet fragment recovered from Crawford's skull matched the gun, a .357-caliber revolver, Ellis said. Judge Dale Crawford of Franklin County Common Pleas Court sentenced Roe to death in 1985.

Asked to describe his 18 years on death row, he took a long pause and answered, "Boredom." Roe follows the case from his cell. He watches television when he's not writing letters or reading. "Every time I think back, that person back out on the streets, the person I used to be, that person no longer exists. The only world I know, really, is this," he said.

As his execution date approaches, Roe said he is beginning to fear it, especially when he hears comments about his case from Crawford's family. About a dozen family members attended the clemency hearing. Don Crawford will attend the execution. "It's kind of getting to me the way that they keep talking about me. They'll probably keep preaching on about waiting to kill me. It is kind of getting to me, hearing it," Roe said.

Gov. Bob Taft on Friday denied Roe clemency. A federal appeals court denied his appeals the same day. Tkacz said she would appeal Roe's case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Crawford has no qualms about watching Roe die. But he knows he has to move on with his life, with Donette Crawford's daughter, Ashlie. "I shouldn't be a father to a 20-year-old, but I am again. She's the same age as her mother," Crawford said.

 
 

State v. Roe , Not Reported in N.E.2d (Ohio App. Aug. 25, 1987).

Defendant-appellant, John Glenn Roe, was convicted of the aggravated murder of Donette Crawford, whose decomposed body was discovered in a wooded area adjacent to a camp site frequented by defendant and his brother. In addition to finding defendant guilty of the aggravating circumstances of kidnapping and aggravated robbery as set forth in R.C. 2929.04(A)(7), the jury also rendered guilty verdicts on two counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated robbery with firearm specifications. Following the jury's determination of guilt, a mitigation hearing was held pursuant to R.C. 2929.03.

The jury found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors, and recommended that the defendant be sentenced to death on each of the two counts of aggravated murder. After an independent review of the evidence presented in the mitigation phase, the trial court announced and filed its decision, likewise concluding that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors.

The trial court imposed a sentence of death, and at the same time sentenced defendant on the other counts as well. Defendant appeals the convictions and death sentence, raising thirty-nine assignments of error.

Donette Crawford lived on the west side of Columbus with Steve Steiner and her infant daughter, Ashley. Sometime after 9 p.m. on Friday, October 5, 1984, Donette and a close friend, Toni Jester, decided to go to the Alrosa Villa, a club in Columbus.

In anticipation of the evening, Crawford had taken Ashley to her mother's home. Crawford and Jester arrived at the Alrosa Villa, they locked their money in the car as both had been paid that day, and stayed at the Alrosa Villa until it closed.

In returning to the west side, Jester drove Crawford's car while Crawford searched for a pack of cigarettes she seemed unable to locate. Jester arrived back at her home at approximately 2:40 a.m.; Crawford still had not found the cigarettes. Crawford then indicated that she was going to pick up Ashley and go home. A 7-Eleven store was located on Mound Street diagonally across the street from Jester's home. A woman who looked like Crawford went to the 7-Eleven on October 6 between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., purchased a pack of cigarettes and left.

About 2 a.m. on October 6, Jeannie Grim was passing by the 7-Eleven on Mound Street when a Camaro or Firebird with the license plate TOE and three numbers pulled out of the 7-Eleven and proceeded west on Mound Street. Grim turned off Mound Street onto Hague Avenue, but the car, later determined to be driven by Crawford, continued west. Headlights that had come up behind Grim on Mound Street continued in the same direction as Crawford.

Around 5:30 a.m. on October 6, Crawford's mother realized that her daughter had not come for Ashley. When she learned Donette was not at home or with Jester, she drove around the west side in an unsuccessful effort to locate her. Later that morning, Donette's father found her car at St. Agnes Church on Mound Street.

The car had been ransacked. The ashtray was hanging out on the floor, invitations were scattered on the back seat, the baby seat was lying on the floor, the lid on the console between the bucket seats was hanging by a hinge, the glove box was left open, and papers were scattered out of the glove box in the car. No keys were found at that time, but later they were discovered in the yard at St. Agnes. Donette's wallet, purse, and money were never found.

Columbus police searched the west side in an unsuccessful effort to locate Donette Crawford. Then, on November 6, 1984, defendant and Moses Matthew Stevens were arrested in Beaver Creek, Ohio. Defendant had been released from prison on September 11, 1984 and was looking for an opportunity to avoid returning to prison as a result of his difficulties in Beaver Creek.

Hence, when John Turner, a detective with the Beaver Creek Police Department, began to interview defendant regarding the incident in Beaver Creek, defendant responded that he had information regarding a missing white woman in Columbus. Defendant told Turner that Jeanette Crawford, as he called her, had not disappeared. He said that she had been killed; and that he possibly knew who was involved and where the body could be found.

Detective Harry Anthony of Beaver Creek overheard defendant relating that information to Turner, and inquired whether defendant would like to talk about it. Defendant agreed to talk with Anthony. He stated that he had seen and heard news reports regarding the disappearance of a white female, Jeanette Crawford, that she had been gone about one month, and that he had strong reason to believe that she had not disappeared but had been killed. He stated further that he had information regarding who might have done it, and where the body and weapon could be found. In addition, he said that he was willing to discuss it at greater length.

With that information, Anthony contacted Dave Verne of the Columbus Police Department, who asked Anthony to obtain additional details from defendant. Accordingly, Anthony went back to defendant on the afternoon of November 7 and interviewed him for approximately three and one-half hours. During that interview, defendant explained that he had a black friend who had been seeing Jeanette Crawford and that they had been dating a couple of "times or days."

He stated that his friend had picked her up around the campus. Defendant had seen his friend with her on October 3, when they came to defendant's home in her dark-colored Trans Am or Firebird. Defendant further told Anthony that the suspect, later identified as Jerry Powell, had said Crawford would not be playing around any more and had shot her with a gun in the "face area." He stated that he believed Powell still had the gun. Defendant said the body could be found in the area of Alum Creek and Livingston and drew a map for Anthony indicating where the body could be found. Defendant told Anthony that he was willing to speak to Columbus police officers about Crawford.

On November 12, 1984, Dave Verne and Steve Judy, two Columbus police officers, came to Xenia to speak with defendant. Following their conversation with defendant, the body of Donette Crawford was discovered on November 15, 1984, in precisely the area defendant had designated.

On November 15, Anthony showed defendant a series of pictures from which defendant was able to select the photograph of Jerry Powell. On November 20, Anthony photographed a bullet wound in defendant's foot.

About the same time that Donette Crawford disappeared, Huntington Clothiers was vandalized. Sometime after approximately 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, 1984, a hole was made in the side of the building, and a considerable amount of clothing was stolen. Believing the offender might return, the management at Huntington Clothiers hired a security guard to watch the building on Sunday night, October 7, 1984. While the security guard was on watch, someone again entered the building.

The guard was trying to block the entrance into the building when the subject came out and ran. The guard chased him by car and shot three times, but he was unable to apprehend the person. That night, Joyce Lucas, defendant's mother, took defendant to Mike and Patty Daniels' home about 11:30 p.m., and asked if defendant could stay with them overnight. Defendant had been shot in the foot. Defendant explained to the Daniels how he had been wounded, and then went on to describe what he had done on Friday night. Mike Daniels testified that the defendant's description of Friday's events included an admission of murder:

"And he just said that he had this chick * * * and she was screaming and yelling and he was choking her, and there was like blood and stuff coming out of her mouth and her nose and she just wouldn't die. * * * He just said, I just went bang, then she was quiet or then she died * * *." (Tr. 1502.) Patty Daniels also testified: "And he said, so I took my gun, or he said my .357, went poosh, and then he said the bitch died or shut up or was quiet." (Tr. 1457.)

On December 3, 1984, Tammy Norris, Moses Stevens' girlfriend, turned over to the Columbus police a .357 magnum which defendant had had with him when he and Stevens were in Dayton on November 6, 1984. That .357 magnum, which fired the bullet found at the scene and in the skull of Donette Crawford, was stolen from Castner's Sporting Goods in Kirkersville, Ohio, on September 8, 1982. Castner's had been broken into on March 20 and March 23, 1981.

Each time the crime was committed in the same manner. Defendant subsequently admitted to having committed both crimes, entered a plea of guilty to the March 23, 1981 break-in, and was sentenced thereon. The September 8, 1982 break-in was committed in the same manner as the March 1981 entries. Local law enforcement authorities therefore determined whether defendant was incarcerated on September 8, 1982. Learning that he was not, they discovered that on September 13, 1982, he was in custody for an incident in Heath, Ohio.

Detective Sergeant Raymond Back of the Licking County sheriff's office met with defendant in the Heath holding cell to discuss the September 8, 1982 break-in at Castners. Back first advised defendant of his rights. Defendant advised that he understood his rights, and refused to sign a waiver of those rights, stating that he did not want to go back to jail for Castner's. Detective Sergeant Back had not mentioned Castner's to defendant at the time defendant made that statement.

While awaiting trial on the charges subject of this appeal, defendant was placed in a cell with Vincent Boyd. Boyd had already received a two to ten year sentence on other charges. Boyd and defendant discussed defendant's pending charges. Although defendant first stated that he was accused of having murdered a man, defendant later admitted that he was charged with murdering a woman. Defendant eventually described for Boyd the circumstances that brought him to those charges.

Defendant told Boyd that he and another had intended to rob a 7-Eleven at Mound Street. When they arrived, they could not commit the robbery because too many people were outside. Although they tried to "wait them out," the twenty to forty-five minutes they waited was to no avail. In the meantime, a woman had entered the store. When she came out, they followed her. They pulled out onto Mound Street, with another car between them and the woman they were following.

The car between them also was driven by a woman. Then, according to what defendant told Boyd, the victim pulled off Mound Street and, again, they followed her. They pulled up next to her, pointed a gun, motioned her to stop, and she did. Taking her car, they drove it around the block and parked it at a church. They then took defendant's car and the woman back to defendant's mother's home.

Behind the home was a wooded area. He and another person, later identified as his brother Donnie, did their "little thing" with her. The other person called out defendant's first name. At that, defendant stated that since she knew both his first name and what he looked like, he would have to kill her. So, defendant related, he took her to the woods where she pleaded. He said to "tell it to someone who gives a fuck," and shot her behind the ear. He moved her approximately a quarter of a mile back into the woods.

Defendant told Boyd that he then went to his girlfriend, Renie, and asked her to corroborate his story that he had been with her at a pizza place at the time of the murder. In addition, defendant told Boyd that he was involved in a burglary, although he did not say he had committed it, and that a security guard had fired on him and shot him in the foot. Defendant showed Boyd the bullet hole. Defendant went on to explain that he had gone to Dayton and "got jammed" on a burglary charge. There, defendant explained, his attempt to work a deal and pin the murder on another named Moses had backfired.

Boyd's two to ten year prison sentence was reduced to six months in the Franklin County jail as a result of his willingness to testify at trial. Defendant's brother, Donnie, testified that on the night Donette Crawford was murdered he and defendant were with their respective girlfriends at My Bar near campus. However, defendant's former girlfriend, Renie Hillman, testified that she and defendant were at My Bar on the Thursday night before Crawford was murdered.

After the jury found the defendant guilty of two counts of aggravated murder with death specifications, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of aggravated robbery, the court proceeded with the mitigation phase. Defendant presented evidence that his father was a diabetic and an alcohol abuser who was unable to secure employment. Moreover, he was both verbally and physically abusive to defendant's mother and to defendant and his brother Donnie. The family experienced some pleasant times, such as fishing or picnicking, but defendant, his mother and his brother often were forced to leave the home to escape defendant's father's wrath.

Defendant's father died in February 1971, when the defendant was eight years old. Defendant's mother began to see Harry Lucas and in 1970 moved with him from Barnesville, where defendant had been born, to California and then eventually to Columbus. Defendant's mother was a thief and taught defendant to be one. She did not explain to him that it was wrong to steal.

In school, defendant had attendance, disciplinary, and motivational problems. Although various teachers attempted to work with him to gain him part-time employment, defendant seemed uninterested in taking advantage of such opportunities. Rather, he was consistently in the principal's office for various skirmishes, talking in class, and similar disciplinary problems. At a very early age, defendant began to use drugs. Although he was given opportunities for drug counseling, defendant was not inclined to stop using drugs. He stole to obtain money to buy drugs. As a result, he had a lengthy juvenile and adult record. However, little of his record involved violent crimes. Those who had known defendant for some time testified that defendant was never a violent person.

Following the mitigation hearing, the jury deliberated and recommended the death sentence, which the court imposed on the following day. In addition, the court imposed sentences on the other crimes for which defendant had been convicted, including three-year sentences on the gun specifications to run consecutively with other sentences. Inasmuch as this is a death penalty appeal, this court is faced with a threefold task: first, we must address the specific assignments of error the defendant raises regarding the proceedings at the trial level; second, pursuant to R.C. 2929.05, we must independently weigh the aggravating circumstances in this case against any factors which may mitigate against imposition of the death penalty; and third, we must independently determine whether defendant's sentence is disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases.

* * *

Finally, considering the random, cold-blooded, senseless, and cruel nature of the defendant's execution of a completely innocent victim and the paucity of mitigating factors presented by the defendant, we are compelled to find that the death sentence is appropriate. We express no personal views in favor of or against the death penalty; we, as judges, are bound to apply the law. In this case, the aggravating circumstances so clearly outweigh the mitigating factors that we must find the death penalty appropriate under R.C. 2929.04. Defendant's thirty-seventh assignment of error is overruled. The conviction and death sentence imposed by the trial court are affirmed.

 
 

Roe v. Baker, 316 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 2002).


Petitioner, convicted in state court of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and aggravated murder, and sentenced to death, having exhausted state-court appeals, 535 N.E.2d 1351, and postconviction remedies, sought federal habeas relief. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., J., denied petition. Petitioner appealed. The Court of Appeals, Siler, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's (AEDPA) amendments to habeas statute did not apply; (2) trial court's failure to instruct jury at sentencing phase that it was not required to unanimously reject death sentence in order to impose life sentence did not violate petitioner's constitutional rights; (3) prosecutor's statements during closing argument at penalty phase that victim's perspective was ignored in mitigation hearing were not plain error; (4) prosecutor's improper comments on statutory mitigating factors on which defendant had not presented evidence did not render sentencing phase fundamentally unfair in violation of due process; (5) claim that trial court's refusal to sentence petitioner on non-capital felonies prior to sentencing phase on murder conviction was error was barred by Teague and (6) petitioner had adequate notice of charge of aggravated murder. Affirmed. Clay, Circuit Judge, filed concurring opinion.

  


 


John Glenn Roe

 

 

 
 
 
 
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