NEW VOICES: Conservatives in Ohio Petition Parole Board to Spare Man's Life

A number of prominent conservatives in Ohio are lending their voices in support of clemency for Shawn Hawkins (pictured), who is facing execution on June 14. Republicans Ken Blackwell, a former Secretary of State and 2006 gubernatorial candidate, former Attorney General Jim Petro, and state Sen. Bill Seitz have all written letters to Gov. John Kasich or to the Parole Board on behalf of Hawkins. Blackwell wrote, “I have been a public advocate for the death penalty and remain so today. Furthermore, in the 30-plus years of my public life, I have only written two letters requesting clemency for an individual. I have reviewed the facts and circumstances of this case with a number of sources. Shawn Hawkins does not deserve to die… I urge you to spare him from the death penalty.” Sen. Seitz added, “[T]here is no reason to end Mr. Hawkins’ life on something so utterly flimsy as mishandled and inconclusive fingerprints and the testimony of a witness with every motive to lie…” The sentence of life without the possibility of parole was not an option in 1989 when Hawkins was sentenced. The chief witness against Hawkins, Henry Brown, was also charged with murder and robbery as a co-conspirator in the same crime, but was given immunity in exchange for testimony against Hawkins. Brown changed his statement at least five times and failed two lie-detector tests.

(J. Craig, “Shawn Hawkins faces last chance for life,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 3, 2011). Read more New Voices. See Clemency and Innocence.