By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS - The state should carry out the death sentence of a northwest Ohio man who kidnapped, strangled and stabbed a college student after luring her to a phony job interview 14 years ago, the Ohio Parole Board said Friday.
The board, in a unanimous vote, recommended that Gov. Bob Taft reject the clemency request of Richard E. Fox, who has asked that his sentenced be commuted to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Mr. Fox, 46, is to die by lethal injection Feb. 12. His attorneys said earlier that they planned no more appeals.
Mr. Taft's office said a decision in death penalty cases usually takes a week. He has not granted clemency in the five previous death penalty cases since 1999, and never has gone against the board's recommendations.
The parole board noted in its recommendation that considerable deception was used to lure Leslie Keckler to the meeting that led to her death and the state would not be committing a manifest injustice by executing Mr. Fox.
Also, the board said, the circumstances of the crime outweighed Mr. Fox's previous clean criminal record and his good conduct while in prison.
"It is not over, simply because they voted against recommending clemency. We remain hopeful Gov. Taft will carefully look at this case and grant mercy," said Greg Meyers, chief of the Ohio Public Defender's death penalty section and one of Mr. Fox's attorneys.
Mr. Meyers said Mr. Fox's attorneys want the chance to present their case to Mr. Taft or his attorneys, and that Mr. Fox would like to meet with the governor or members of his staff.
Kim Norris, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Petro, said that Mr. Fox's attorneys, just like prosecutors, had the opportunity to make their case to the governor's staff during the parole board's hearing last week.
She noted that the board's decision was unanimous. In the other cases, one or two board members voted in favor of clemency.
"It appears the parole board studied the issues and facts carefully and provided well-reasoned opinions and recommendations," Ms. Norris said.
Mr. Fox, a native of Tontogany, was convicted in 1990 by a three-judge panel in Wood County of kidnapping and murdering Ms. Keckler, 18, of Bowling Green, after she showed up at a hotel on Sept. 26, 1989, for what she thought was an interview for a job selling restaurant supplies.
Mr. Fox told police he killed Ms. Keckler, whose body was found in a drainage ditch, but only after police confronted him about their report by another woman who said she had escaped a similar ruse months earlier.
Last week, prosecutors told the board that Mr. Fox used such schemes in the years before he killed Ms. Keckler as practice.
Mr. Fox's attorneys said their client used trickery with the intent to meet women, not to kill them.
His attorneys argued that Mr. Fox is not the "worst of the worst" criminals for whom the death penalty is intended. They also said Mr. Fox should be re-sentenced because the trial court used sentencing guidelines in 1994 that two years later the Supreme Court declared were flawed. The state contended that Mr. Fox's sentence would not be any different if the 1996 guidelines were followed.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court, in a 5-2 ruling, rejected Mr. Fox's request to delay the execution so the court could hear arguments that he should be re-sentenced.
Violent offenders were on list to go free
More lots show high lead levels
Recalling the man and the dream
King tributes: songs, speeches
Home holds heart but needs healing
IN THE TRISTATE
Pilot error blamed for near crash
Death penalty change sought
Theater plan may be all a stage
Neighbor-to-Neighbor initiative honored
Schools eligible to get $1.3M
RADEL: New career begins
FAITH MATTERS: Peace over war
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Man with history of abuse charged in killing
Ministry just for young people
Doubts aired at bond hearing
Antique hunters ignore snow, ice
Judge: Former director can keep $170K buyout
Monroe man jailed after alleged stun gun attack
Board advises no clemency
Dairy dumps tradition, milk
Judge throws out Soap Box Derby suit over ineligible cars
Police: Man suspect in OSU serial rapes
I shot the sheriff, he admits
Man charged in death of 3-year-old