Sunday, July 20, 2003

Death row inmate's appeal to be heard

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court said Friday it will accept arguments by convicted killer Richard Cooey to reopen his appeal but won't delay his execution.

Cooey, 36, is scheduled to die by injection Thursday for kidnapping, raping, beating and killing two University of Akron students in 1986.

The court ordered attorneys to deliver their written arguments by noon Tuesday.

By a 4-2 vote, the court rejected Cooey's request to delay his execution.

Cooey is appealing a decision by the 9th Ohio District Court of Appeals in Akron that it was too late for Cooey to argue he had ineffective legal representation in his first appeal in 1987.

State courts previously rejected Cooey's ineffective counsel argument, saying first that attorneys filed it in the wrong format and then that he filed the correct document more than a year late.

Cooey's clemency request is pending before Gov. Bob Taft. Last week, the state parole board recommended against clemency.

In media interviews, Cooey admits he kidnapped, robbed and raped sorority sisters Wendy Offredo, 21, and Dawn McCreery, 20, in September 1986. He denied he killed them, but says he's "morally" responsible for the murders.

According to court documents, Cooey was on leave from the Army when he and a friend, Clint Dickens, took them to a field and attacked them, court records say.

Dickens is serving a life sentence.

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