Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Killer appeals execution to Supreme Court

        COLUMBUS — Lawyers for a convicted killer who claims prosecutors chose a racially biased jury 17 years ago appealed Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court to delay Alton Coleman's execution, scheduled for Friday.

        Mr. Coleman has accused prosecutors of racism during jury selection in his 1985 trial for the beating death of Marlene Walters in her Norwood home in 1984.

        Mr. Coleman's lawyers claimed that then-Hamilton County Prosecutor Arthur Ney's team improperly removed nine of 12 black jurors from the trial. Mr. Coleman is black.

        On Friday, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Mr. Coleman's request came too late. It should have been raised on the direct appeal of his conviction, rather than after his appeals ran out, the court said.

        Also Friday, the Ohio Parole Board recommended that Gov. Bob Taft deny clemency to Mr. Coleman.

        Mr. Coleman, 46, is sentenced to die by injection for the death of Mrs. Walters, 44. Mr. Coleman, of Waukegan, Ill., has been convicted of four murders that occurred in 1984 and also has been sentenced to death in Indiana and Illinois.


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