Vernon Brown – black, age 31

Sentenced to death in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
By: A jury
Date of crime: 1/1/2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: In order to gain status and a reputation as a drug dealer, Brown murdered two other drug dealers. Brown set up a meeting with Duane Roan and Tearle Toeran under the pretense of a drug deal so that he could kill them. When Roan and Toeran arrived to meet Brown, Brown forced them out of their car, shot them, and drove off in their car. The prosecution’s evidence included testimony from Brown’s fiancé who witnessed the shooting, Brown possessed the gun used in the murders when he was arrested, and the victim’s car was found at Brown’s mother’s house. The defense admitted Brown killed Roan and Toeran but argued the murders occurred when a drug deal went bad and were not premeditated.
Prosecutor(s): Steven Dever, Frank Goldberg Defense lawyer(s): David Grant, William McGinty
Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer 2/7/2005, 2/17/2005, 2/19/2005, 2/19/2005, 3/8/2005

Nicole Diar – white, age 28

Sentenced to death in Lorain County, Ohio
By:  A jury
Date of Crime:    August 2003
Prosecution’s Case/Defense Response:  The prosecution presented evidence that Nicole Diar killed her son and then went to the bar to line dance.  The theme of her partying lifestyle and how her son kept her from it was present throughout the prosecution’s case.  They showed how she often drugged her son with codeine and then went out for the night.  In August 2003, a fire broke out in Diar’s home.  Diar escaped, while her son did not.  The coroner determined that Diar’s son, age 4 had already died inside the home hours earlier, before Diar left for the bar.  He was found in his bed with his dead puppy.  No official cause of death was determined.  Fire marshals concluded that the fire was started with gasoline.  The defense noted how no drug was found in the boy’s body, nor was any gasoline found in the home.  They also noted how Diar was burned badly at age four and therefore was very protective and loving towards her son.
Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer 10/4/05 (2005 WLNR 16095689), 10/14/05 (2005 WLNR 16706547), 10/18/05 (2005 WLNR 16895575), 11/2/05 (2005 WLNR 17738471), 11/3/05 (2005 WLNR 17816057)

James Frazier – black, age 63

Sentenced to death in Lucas County, Ohio
By: A jury
Date of crime: 3/3/2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: During a home invasion robbery of neighbor Mary Stevenson, who was afflicted with cerebral palsy, Frazier both strangled her and slashed her throat. Frazier had a significant criminal record. The defense argued that Frazier’s relatively advanced age should count in his favor in terms of sentencing and also presented a psychologist who believed the defendant to be borderline mildly mentally retarded and with a personality disorder.
Prosecutor(s): Jim Braun
Defense lawyer(s): Mark Berling
Sources: The Blade 3/6/2004, 5/10/2005, 5/21/2005 (

Delano Hale, Jr. – black, age 36

Sentenced to death in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
By:  A jury
Date of crime:  6/21/2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Hale killed Douglas Green, a 46-year-old singer and music producer.  Hale was staying at a hotel and Green was visiting Hale there to discuss a potential singing career.  Hale shot Green four times in the head, wrapped Green’s naked body in trash bags, and left the body in a storage room next door to the room Hale was renting.  Hale argued he killed Green in self defense after Green undressed and made sexual advances towards him.  Hale said after shooting him twice, Green continued to approach him, so he reloaded and shot two more times.  A coroner testified that would have been impossible.  Hale was found four days after the slaying in Green’s vehicle.  Hale had served two prior prison sentences before his arrest for killing Green.
Prosecutor(s):  Blaise Thomas; Jennifer Driscoll
Defense lawyer(s):  Ken Mullin
Sources:  Cleveland Plain Dealer 6/8/2005 (2005 WLNR 9108778), 6/17/2005 (2005 WLNR 9649400), 6/30/2004 (2005 WLNR 350508).

Kerry Perez – Latino, age 38

Sentenced to death in Clark County, Ohio
By:  A jury
Date of Crime:  March 6, 2003
Prosecution’s Case/Defense Response:  Kerry Perez entered the Do Drop Inn bar on March 6, 2003 with the intention of robbing it.  He had been suspected of robbing a number of businesses in the area.  However, as he entered the bar that night, he shouted for no one to move, and Ronald Johnson shifted in his chair.  Perez turned and shot him.  Perez later confessed to the crime.  The defense did not dispute the facts of the case, but instead focused on mitigation.  They noted his loyalty to his wife, his willingness to confess, and his remorse.
Sources: Springfield News-Sun (OH) 9/7/05, 9/13/05, 11/30/05 (available for purchase at

James Trimble – white, age 45

Sentenced to death in Portage County, Ohio
By:  A jury
Date of Crime:  January 21, 2005
Prosecution’s Case/Defense Response:  James Trimble killed 3 people with an Olympic Arms assault rifle.  Two of his victims, a mother and her young son, were renting an upstairs bedroom from Trimble’s mother in the home that they all shared.  He confronted them in the bedroom and shot them to death.  After those two murders, Trimble dressed in camouflage and grabbed a pistol and fled while firing at a number of police officers.  Trimble’s third victim was a Kent State student who was watching TV in her apartment when Trimble broke through the sliding glass doors.  The defense presented evidence that Trimble was high on meth at the time of the shootings.  The defense called Trimble’s mother during the penalty phase to plead for her son’s life.  She testified that Trimble was a devoted church-goer and outdoorsman and that he was emotionally scarred after the death of his father at an early age.  They argue this left him with a bi-polar disorder and tendency to use drugs.
Sources: Akron Beacon Journal 10/26/05 (2005 WLNR 17287456), 11/3/05 (2005 WLNR 17752815), 11/4/05 (2005 WLNR 17845028), 11/5/05 (2005 WLNR 17896942), 11/16/05 (2005 WLNR 18524453), 11/17/05 (2005 WLNR 18558374), 11/22/05 (2005 WLNR 18836400)