Thursday, May 16, 2002

Prison riot leader's sentence of death upheld by high court




By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of killing five fellow inmates as the leader of a “death squad” that targeted prison snitches during the 1993 prison riot near Lucasville.

        In a unanimous decision, the court rejected all 20 arguments from Keith Lamar that he was unfairly convicted.

        His main argument was he didn't have full access to witness statements, preventing his lawyers from determining whether any of the witnesses could have testified on his behalf.

        Justice Deborah Cook wrote in the court's opinion that nothing in the statements could have put the whole case in a different light or undermined the guilty verdict.

        “We find no reasonable probability of a different trial outcome had the defense received the full statements,” she wrote. “Many of the statements identified Lamar as a participant in the murders. And statements identifying other inmates as participants did not exculpate Lamar because each victim had been attacked by multiple assailants.”

        Mr. Lamar, 32, was serving 15 years to life for murder and theft when he participated in the 11-day riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. A prison guard, Robert Vallandingham, 40, and nine inmates were killed.

        During the standoff, Mr. Lamar became a leader of a group of inmates that found themselves trapped inside a cellblock. The state said Mr. Lamar told the Muslim inmates who orchestrated the riots that he and his group, later dubbed “the death squad,” would kill several prison snitches if they were allowed into the prison yard.

        Mr. Lamar received four death sentences for killing four prisoners. He also was sentenced to 30 years to life for aggravated murder after he ordered the killing of Dennis Weaver, who died when other inmates stuffed paper and plastic bags down his throat.

        He was the only inmate convicted of killing other prisoners to receive the death penalty. The only other inmates to receive the death penalty were those who killed the guard.

       



Killings up 87% over last year
28 slain in Cincinnati neighborhoods
Milestone reached in Fernald cleanup
Monroe mall plan cut from mega to just big
Charter school to open downtown
Commissioners pave way for Sabin expansion process
Curbing take-home cars saves the city $204,000
Norwood to unveil schools' revamping
Obituary: Dr. Mikio Suo, GE Engines engineer
Presbytery addresses gay issue
Ride your bike to bus stop, take a bus to work
Robbers strip man's clothes
Search goes on for two boaters
Teachers begin voting on merit plan
HOWARD: Some Good News
PULFER: A child's tale
RADEL: Ultimate good cop
Conese guilty of soliciting
Diplomas honor service to country
Fairfield mayor admits open meeting violation
Milford to get places to sip, sup
Relay for Life gets bigger every year
Teens find contest fun, but grueling
Troupe provides inspiration
Brownfield cleanup eases liability rule
Business group in Toledo wants new arena downtown
Cigarette tax hike falters in Capitol
Essay contest promotes Ohio learning program
Mental-retardation director urges training
Ohio high court strikes down same-sex solicitation law
- Prison riot leader's sentence of death upheld by high court
Selling dorms proposed
Victim rights endorsed
Flasher gets time in jail
Foal losses decrease from 2001
Human cloning predicted this year
Kentucky News Briefs
Lights to be installed on Pendery Park playing fields
Patton's daughter to leave leadership of state Democrats
Principal openings abundant
Six more sue Louisville church
Study: Minority youths charged, detained more