Who was Marvallous Keene, the man executed for the 1992 ‘Christmas killings’?

Dec 18, 2017

It’s been 25 years since Dayton’s worst murder spree, the 1992 “Christmas killings.” 

The three days from Dec. 24-26 left six people dead and ended with the arrest of Marvallous Keene and three accomplices. 

Marvallous Keene was executed in 2009 for his role in the "Christmas killings," a 1992 Dayton crime spree. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

All were convicted for murder, but Keene was the only one who received the death penalty. 

Here are five things to know about Keene:

» THE STORY OF THE KILLINGS: 25 years after Christmas murder spree: ‘It will never be forgotten’

1. “Joy killing.” Keene was 19 years old when he and three young people went on a killing spree over the Christmas weekend in 1992. Their rampage, which police described as “joy killing,” left six people dead and injured two. 

2. “Downtown Posse.” Keene and three others — his girlfriend Laura Taylor, 16; Heather Matthews, 20; and DeMarcus Smith, 17 — were part of a gang that called itself the “Downtown Posse.” 

3. Conviction. Keene was convicted for five of the six murders. Taylor and Matthews are serving life sentences at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Smith is serving a life sentence at the Mansfield Correctional Institute.

4. “I have no words.” On July 21, 2009, at the age of 36, Keene was executed by lethal injection at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. When he was asked if he wished to make a final statement, the condemned killer said, “No, I have no words.” 

5. 1,000. The Associated Press reported in 2009 that Keene was the 1,000th U.S. convict to be executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. He was the 31st Ohio inmate to be executed since the state resumed executions in 1999.