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
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
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
State v. Roe , Not Reported in N.E.2d (Ohio App. Aug. 25,
State v. Roe , 535 N.E.2d 1351 (Ohio App. March 22, 1989). (Direct
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).
A medium-well T-bone steak with steak sauce, onion rings, macaroni
and cheese, butter-pecan ice cream and root beer.
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."
Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction
Inmate #: 183047
Inmate: Roe, John G.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
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
"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."
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
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
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