Thursday, April 3, 2003

Convicted killer gets new lawyer

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - For the first time since his death sentence was overturned by the state Supreme Court, Fred Furnish appeared in Kenton Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Public Advocate George Sornberger of Frankfort was appointed his new counsel. Furnish's next scheduled appearance before Judge Steven Jaeger is April 2.

The Supreme Court ruled in November that Furnish's sentence of death for murdering Ramona Jean Williamson during a burglary in June 1998 must be overturned because jurors should have been able to consider life without parole.

Between the homicide and Furnish's conviction, the General Assembly created the penalty of life without the possibility of parole. But the judge ruled Furnish's jury could not consider the new penalty because it was not in effect when the crime was committed.

Since Furnish's conviction for killing Williamson, he has pleaded guilty to the strangling death of Doris Bertsch, 70, of Kenton Hills.


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