State and National Leaders Urge Closer Examination Before Scheduled Ohio Execution

John Spirko is scheduled for execution on September 20 in Ohio but the state's Attorney General, Jim Petro, has recommended further review of the case because his senior deputy misrepresented evidence to the Parole Board.  The Board voted 6-3 against leniency for Spirko, who received a death sentence for a 1982 murder.  Other national leaders, such as former FBI Director William S. Sessions, have also urged the state to investigate the case more closely.  In a letter to Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Sessions asked that Spirko's sentence be commuted, noting, "I believe that John Spirko may have been unjustly convicted."  Sessions is one of four retired federal judges who have questioned Spirko's conviction.  Defense attorneys assert that Spirko's conviction was based on faulty eyewitness identification and the testimony of jailhouse informants who received leniency and later recanted.

(Dayton Daily News, September 6, 2005).  See Innocence.  Update: Spirko's execution has been stayed at least until Nov. 15 to give the Parole Board a chance to conduct a further hearing.

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