Thursday, June 14, 2001

Scott faces death tonight

Convicted killer's appeals exhausted

By Spencer Hunt
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Ohio's condemned killers are supposed to walk into the Lucasville prison death house only once.

        Jay D. Scott came for his third, and most likely last, visit Wednesday. Shortly after he arrived, the Ohio Attorney General's Office reported that the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected what may have been Mr. Scott's last two appeals.

        “There is nothing right now in the court system that stands between Mr. Scott and execution Thursday evening,” said Joe Case, a spokesman for Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

        John Pyle, one of Mr. Scott's attorneys, said he did not know if another appeal could be filed that would prevent Mr. Scott from dying by lethal injection shortly after 9 p.m. tonight.

        “I don't imagine there's anything else to do,” Mr. Pyle said.

        Mr. Pyle and fellow attorney Timothy F. Sweeney had hoped the nation's highest court would reconsider Mr. Scott's insanity appeal. A second appeal argued that the 17 years Mr. Scott spent on Ohio's death row and two failed executions made the state's third execution attempt cruel and unusual punishment.

        Convicted and condemned for killing Cleveland delicatessen owner Vinnie M. Prince in 1983, Mr. Scott came within an hour of death in April before the state Supreme Court ordered a stay.

        In May, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the clock with 10 minutes to spare. At that time, the Lucasville execution team had put injection shunts in Mr. Scott's arms.

        Mr. Scott's attorneys were able to convince the Ohio Supreme Court, and later the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, to consider their plea that it is morally wrong to execute a mentally ill prisoner. Mr. Scott is a diagnosed schizophrenic.

        But that argument ultimately failed to win over enough judges. Wednesday, Mr. Sweeney said no more appeals would be filed if the U.S. Supreme Court turned them down. But Chris Frey, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said he's not sure.

        “I'd like to believe that,” he said. “Someone could decide "That's not it,'”


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