David Martin—age 28, black

Sentenced to death in Trumbull County, Ohio
By: a jury
Date of crime: 9/27/12
Prosecution case/defense response: On September 27, 2012, an attempted robbery turned into a murder when David Martin fatally shot Jeremy Cole and attempted to murder Melissa Putnam. While awaiting trial for Cole’s murder, Martin was convicted and sentenced to 22 years on federal gun charges stemming from a federal investigation. Martin had numerous prior felony convictions in what federal prosecutors referred to as an “armed career criminal.” It took a jury four hours to convict Martin and sentence him to death.
Sources: The Repository, September 26, 2014; Vindicator, October 11, 2013

Austin Meyers – white, age 19

Sentenced to death in Warren County, Ohio
By: a jury
Date of crime:  01/28/2014
Prosecution case/ defense response:  Austin Meyers was deemed the planner behind the stabbing death of Justin Back, 18.  Meyers is the youngest person to enter Ohio’s death row.  Timothy Mosley, 19, stabbed Back 21-times as they wrestled on Back’s kitchen floor and testified against Meyers, a deal with the prosecution which spared him the death penalty. The prosecutor stated, “I knew there was no possibility from my perspective of getting the death penalty against Austin if we weren’t able to say why.” Mosley testified to the motive.  Before attacking Back, the trio watched a movie with the plan all along to burglarize the Back home.  Back was slated to depart for the U.S. Navy a week after his death. Meyers’ defense attorneys argued mitigating factors of the plea deal struck with Mosley, Meyers’ age, lack of criminal history, and pleas from his family to spare his life. The judge in the case said, “[i]t was Meyers who selected Justin Black as a victim.  Without Mr. Meyers, I don’t think that Mr. Mosley had any real disposition to kill, certainly not to kill Justin Back.”  Meyers was only willing to take a dismissal of the charges and in return, he would not sue the prosecutor for wrongful imprisonment.  The jury took six hours to sentence Meyers to death.
Sources:  Cincinnati Enquirer; 2014 WLNR 27888262

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

Sentenced to death in Trumbull County, Ohio
By: a judge
Date of crime: 12/11/01
Prosecution case/defense response: Roberts conspired with her then-imprisoned boyfriend to murder her husband, Robert Fingerhut, for $550,000 in insurance money. Two days after Jackson was released from prison, Fingerhut was murdered. Roberts’s first death sentence was overturned on appeal because it was unclear from the sentencing judge’s order whether the judge had considered her unsworn statement that she had suffered head injuries in car crashes, had attempted suicide, had been sexually assaulted as a child, and had experienced hallucinations. Upon considering her statement, the trial judge again imposed a death sentence.
Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer 10/23/13.

Willie Wilks—black, age 41

Sentenced to death in Mahoning County, Ohio
By: A jury
Date of crime: 5/21/13
Prosecution case/defense response: After an argument earlier in the day, Wilks appeared at his antagonist’s house with an assault rifle and fired at least 3 rounds. One round killed Orono Wilkins, who was holding a baby in her arms. Another round wounded a second person. Wilks had a 1990 conviction for involuntary manslaughter.
Sources: WFMJ-TV website