Lamont Hunter – black, age 37

Sentenced to death in Hamilton County, Ohio
By: Three judges
Date of crime: January 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hunter was convicted of raping and killing Trustin Blue, the son of his girlfriend, who he was babysitting on January 19, 2006. An autopsy report showed that Blue had died from blunt trauma to the head and shaking. Hunter’s sentencing was twice delayed because the judges felt the case needed more time. The prosecution pointed out the heinousness of the crime and the fact that the murder was committed during a rape of the child. In his defense at the sentencing phase, Hunter read a statement maintaining his innocence. The judges handing down the sentence proclaimed that the murder was done in a calculated and cold blooded manner.
Prosecutor(s): Joe Deters, Seth Tieger
Defense lawyer(s): Clyde Bennet
Sources: Cincinnati Fox 19 WXIS-OH 9/21/07 2007 WLNR 18601476; Cincinnati Post 2/2/06 2006 WLNR 1926663, 9/21/07 2007 WLNR 18726429

Edward Lang – black, age 19

Sentenced to death in Stark County, Ohio
By: A judge
Date of crime: October 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lang was convicted of the murders of Jaron Burditte and her boyfriend, Marnell Cheek. Both Burnditte and Cheek were shot in the head while seated in a pickup truck. Lang received life with no parole for killing Cheek and the death sentence for the murder of Burnditte. The defense elicited testimony from Lang’s mother who spoke of Lang’s rough upbringing and the abusiveness of her boyfriend. Lang’s mother testified that Lang went to search for his father at the age of 10 and was gone for 2 years. Lang’s sister testified that Lang was constantly in and out of psychiatric facilities. The prosecution countered that the testimony of Lang’s mother and sister was mere speculation and naturally biased.
Prosecutor(s): Dennis Barr
Defense lawyer(s): Frank Beane, Anthony Koukoutas
Sources: Akron Beacon Journal 7/26/07 2007 WLNR 14409182;

Charles Maxwell – black, age 39

Sentenced to death in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
By: A judge
Date of crime: November 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Maxwell shot his ex-girlfriend, Nichole McCorkle, once in the face and once in the back of the head while in McCorkle’s home and in the presence of McCorkle’s daughter. Days before the shooting, McCorkle had told the police that Maxwell had beat her into unconsciousness and the prosecution’s witnesses testified that the murder was a retaliatory act for McCorkle’s having gone to the police. The prosecution also came forth with a key witness who testified that Maxwell set out to kill McCorkle when she did not drop the assault charge against him. The defense argued that the murder was simply a sad case of domestic violence and had nothing to do with retaliation. The defense also argued that the prosecution’s key witness was an ex-convict who had been repeatedly caught lying to the court.
Prosecutor(s): Saleh Awadallah and Brian McDonough
Defense lawyer(s): John Luskin, Thomas Rein
Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer 3/1/07 2007 WLNR 4002634, 3/22/07 2007 WLNR 5476865

Wayne Powell – black, age 42

Sentenced to death in Lucas County, Ohio
By: A jury
Date of crime: November 11, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: At 3:00 a.m., Powell set fire to a house in which eight people were sleeping. Four persons were killed, including Powell’s on-and-off ex-girlfriend, her disabled mother, and two children. Powell’s motive was a grievance against the ex-girlfriend. The defense presented mitigating evidence consisting of Powell’s troubled childhood that included an abusive and substance-abusing father who had also committed murder.
Prosecutor(s): J. Christopher Anderson, Tim Braun
Defense lawyer(s): Ann Barones, John Thebes
Sources: AP Alerts-OH 8/21/07, 20:06:04; Toledo Blade, 8/24/07, 2007 WLNR 16529835; 9/14/07, 2007 WLNR 18011470

Donna Roberts – white, age 57 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Trumball County, Ohio
By: A judge
Date of crime: 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Roberts was convicted of aggravated murder in the slaying of her husband, Robert Fingerhut. Roberts had conspired with her boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, to murder her husband in order to obtain money from Fingerhut’s insurance policy. Fingerhut was shot in the head after arriving home from work. The Ohio Supreme Court threw out the death sentence ruling that the trial judge involved the prosecutor in preparing the sentencing opinion of Roberts in violation of Ohio law. The court let Roberts’ conviction stand but ordered the trial court to re-sentence her. The defense argued that Roberts should not receive the death penalty due to her mental instability. The prosecution disagreed, arguing that she provided Nate Jackson with the means and manner with which to kill her husband.
Prosecutor(s): Dennis Watkins, Chris Becker
Defense lawyer(s): David Doughon
Sources: Cincinnati Post 8/3/06 2006 WLNR 13486827; Cleveland Plain Dealer 8/03/06 2006 WLNR 13461241;