Friday, August 24, 2001

Parole board rejects clemency

Taft urged to let Byrd be executed

By Spencer Hunt
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — The Ohio Parole Board on Thursday told Gov. Bob Taft to deny clemency to death-row inmate John W. Byrd Jr., further dimming his hope to avoid execution Sept. 12.

        Mr. Byrd's attorneys had urged a life sentence for their client, saying an accomplice in a 1983 robbery in Colerain Township was the man who stabbed and killed convenience-store clerk Monte Tewksbury.

        That argument swayed only one of the board's 11 voting members.

        The other 10 trashed two sworn confessions from prison inmate John Brewer, writing they lack “any credibility whatsoever.” They also dismissed arguments that a jail-house informant lied on the stand to help convict Mr. Byrd.

        “The murder of Mr. Monte Tewksbury was a totally senseless, callous act, committed without any provocation,” the majority wrote.

        The governor will use the board's report to help make his own decision next week.

        The board's decision was the second setback this week for the Ohio Public Defender. On Tuesday the First District Court of Appeals refused to grant a hearing to consider Mr. Brewer's confessions.

        “We had hoped that (the parole board) would realize that there are grave doubts whether they have the right man on death row,” said Gregory Meyers, chief of the public defender's death penalty division.

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen sounded confident Mr. Taft would deny clemency.

        “I would think that he would consider this recommendation strongly,” Mr. Allen said.

        Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court stands next in line to hear the case. Mr. Meyers is asking the high court to delay the execution to consider if a trial court should take another look at Mr. Byrd's innocence plea.

        Two Hamilton County courts refused to grant that hearing.


Cities still shun adult businesses
New teacher beats first-day anxieties
Pair arrested in embezzlement
27 file petitions for council race
Eight are vying for CPS board
Local NAACP to hold back-to-school rally
Man shot dead inside furniture store
Weekend events make for tough travel
RADEL: Rijo, Schippers
4-wheeling fans fill Cleves
Gridlock looms at Riverfest
Hopefuls looking for lady luck
One ball off, but someone won 100 grand
Sayler Park seeks funds
Tristate A.M. Report
Variety of school levies in SW Ohio
Deerfield trustee to bow out
New baby quickly gets new family
School invites people from township to picnic
Three compete for Hamilton mayor
Township asking for levies
OU contractors ordered to pay fines, back wages
- Parole board rejects clemency
Study: Test can't predict preparedness
Chili, car show looking for some riverfront magic
Delays plague Ky. 17 stretch
Kentucky News Briefs
Louisville Slugger checks swing on 'old bats' sign