Saturday, September 22, 2001

Ohio says Byrd not due review

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Death row inmate John W. Byrd Jr. improperly delayed the introduction of evidence that he says could clear him and should not receive a review of his claim, the state said Friday.

        The state asked the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals not to hold a full-court hearing on motions filed by Mr. Byrd's lawyers.

        “Had Byrd followed the rules, he could have obtained review of his "actual innocence' claim years ago,” Attorney General Betty Montgomery said in a court filing. “Instead, he deliberately concealed the evidence that he now claims 'proves' his "actual innocence.'”

        On Sept. 12, the federal appeals court delayed Mr. Byrd's execution until at least Oct. 8. Mr. Byrd, 37, says he is innocent but chose the electric chair over injection to make his sentence as difficult as possible for the state and as a protest against the death penalty.

        The next day, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Ohio's request to allow the state to move ahead with the execution. It would be the first time since 1963 Ohio has used its electric chair.

        Mr. Byrd was convicted of fatally stabbing convenience store clerk Monte Tewksbury of Cincinnati during a 1983 robbery. He claims an accomplice stabbed Mr. Tewksbury.


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