Ohio inmate wants to be killed by firing squad

Updated Jan 22, 2018
  • By AP AP

Attorneys for a condemned killer whose execution was stopped last year after 25 minutes of unsuccessful needle sticks are once again recommending the firing squad as an alternative.

The execution could also proceed if the state adopts a closely regulated lethal injection process that includes a headpiece to monitor the brain activity of death row inmate Alva Campbell and medicine to revive him if the lethal drugs don’t work, attorneys said in a court filing earlier this month.

Without these measures, Campbell’s execution would involve “a sure or very likely risk of serious harm in the form of severe, needless physical pain and suffering,” Campbell’s federal public defenders said in the Jan. 4 filing.

Campbell, 59, was sentenced to die for fatally shooting an 18-year-old man in a 1997 carjacking.

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Alva Campbell, convicted of fatally shooting Charles Dials of Columbus, Ohio, during a carjacking after Campbell escaped from police custody during a 1997 court appearance in Columbus, Ohio. In a January 2018 court filing, Campbell's attorneys once again recommended a firing squad as an alternative to lethal injection, after the state couldn't find a usable vein during an attempt to execute Campbell on Nov. 15, 2017, that was stopped after 25 minutes of unsuccessful needle sticks. Photo: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File

The state unsuccessfully tried to execute Campbell on Nov. 15 in the state death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

After the Ohio prisons director stopped the execution, Republican Gov. John Kasich issued a reprieve and rescheduled the execution for June 2019.

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Prison officials said three examinations found usable veins in Campbell’s arms the day of and the day before the execution. But executioners weren’t able to establish successful IV lines when it came time to put Campbell to death.

As a result, using a firing squad for Campbell must be an option, his attorneys argue.

A firing squad wouldn’t cause severe suffering, doesn’t require drugs Campbell might be allergic to or the need to find a vein. It also doesn’t require the involvement of a doctor, the attorneys said in a 533-page filing.

A firing squad “virtually eliminates the unconstitutional lingering death and other severe physical and mental pain and suffering” that Campbell might suffer by injection, the attorneys said.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office wants Campbell’s request tossed out, saying it’s “beyond the borders of common sense.”

“It would seem indisputable that a firing squad produces greater observable effects on the inmate than lethal injection,” Jocelyn Lowe, an assistant attorney general, said in a Thursday filing.

She also called the proposal a “non-starter” since a judge previously said the firing squad is not an execution method recognized under Ohio law.

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At least two U.S. states allow the firing squad, including Utah and Oklahoma, which permits it if other methods aren’t available.

Campbell’s attorneys argue lethal injection is permissible as long as his heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are continually monitored and drugs and equipment to revive him are on hand.

They say Campbell’s health problems pose additional risks for a successful lethal injection. Campbell uses a walker, relies on an external colostomy bag, requires four breathing treatments a day and may have lung cancer.

During the November execution attempt, executioners provided Campbell a wedge-shaped pillow to help him breathe while he was put to death.

The state isn’t obliged to resuscitate an inmate who’s been administered the state’s three-drug lethal injection system, the state replied.

“Providing medical or resuscitative care would directly contravene the court-ordered death sentence,” Lowe said.

Ohio’s next execution is Feb. 13, when Raymond Tibbets is scheduled to die for killing a man at his Cincinnati home. Tibbetts also received life imprisonment for fatally beating and stabbing the man’s wife during an argument that same day over Tibbetts’ crack cocaine habit.


Miami Valley area prisoners on Death Row include:

Richard Bays, 52, Greene County, admitted June 1995 for aggravated murder and robbery of a 76-year-old wheelchair-bound Xenia man.

Davel Chinn, 60, Montgomery County, admitted September 1989, for aggravated murder, robbery and kidnapping of Brian Jones from a downtown Dayton parking lot. Chinn’s co-defendant was later murdered in the 1992 Christmas killings, for which Marvallous Matthew Keene was executed.

Timothy Coleman, 48, Clark County, admitted in April 1996 for drug dealing and aggravated murder of Melinda Stevens, who was scheduled to testify against him in a drug case.

Von Davis, 71, Butler County, admitted May 1984 for aggravated murder of his girlfriend, Suzette Butler, outside an American Legionn hall in Hamilton.

Jason Dean, 43, Clark County, admitted September 2005 on robbery and attempted escape charges and convicted of aggravated murder and other charges in June 2006. He was convicted in the 2005 murder of youth counselor, Titus Arnold.

Antonio Franklin, 39, Montgomery County, admitted September 1998 on arson, robbery and murder charges. He killed his uncle and grandparents and torched their home and then fled to Nashville, Tenn.

Terry Froman, 44, Warren County, admitted June 2017 on aggravated murder and kidnapping charges. He shot his ex-girlfriend, Kim Thomas, 34, in the back of his SUV on Interstate-75 near Middletown in September 2014.

Larry Gapen, 69, Montgomery County, admitted July 2001 on escape, robbery, abduction and aggravated murder charges. He admitted to police that he used a wood-splitting maul to smash in the faces of his ex-wife, Martha Madewell; her ex-husband Nathan Marshall; and her daughter Jesica Young.

Donald Ketterer, 68, Butler County, admitted February 2004 on aggravated murder and robbery charges. He stabbed to death Lawrence Sanders, 83, and struck him in the head with a cast-iron skillet.

Juan Kinley, 49, Clark County, admitted May 1991 for robbery and aggravated murder. He used a machete to murder his girlfriend, Thelma Miller, and her 12-year-old son, David.

Jose Loza, 45, Butler County, admitted November 1991 on four counts of aggravated murder for killing members of his girlfriend’s Middeltown family.

Calvin McKelton, 40, Butler County, admitted in November 1990 on assault, domestic violence, murder, arson, abuse of a corpse and aggravated murder charges. He was sentenced to die for the execution-style shooting of Germaine Evans Sr., a witness who saw him strangle to death his girlfriend, Margaret Allen.

Samuel Moreland, 63, Montgomery County, admitted May 1986 on five counts of murder and three counts of attempted aggravated murder. He shot or beat to death two women and five children in their Dayton home.

Austin Myers, 23, Warren County, admitted October 2017 on aggravated murder, kidnapping, robbery, theft, safecracking, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering charges. He and accomplice Timothy Mosley were convicted of stabbing to death of Tim Back, 18, at his Waynesville home.

David Myers, 52, Greene County, admitted March 1996 on robbery and aggravated murder charges. He drove a railroad spike into the head of Amanda Jo Maher, 18, of Xenia.

Gregory Osie, 56, Butler County, admitted May 2010 on murder, burglary and robbery charges. He stabbed to death David Williams, a disabled man.

Kerry Perez, 52, Clark County, admitted December 2005, on an aggravated murder charge. He shot and killed Ronald Johnson during a 2003 bar robbery in Springfield.

William Sapp, 55, Clark County, admitted October 1996 on rape, kidnapping, murder and other charges. He was convicted in the beating deaths and rapes of Phree Morrow, 12, and Martha Leach, 11, in 1992 near downtown Springfield.

Duane Short, 50, Montgomery County, admitted June 2006 on burglary and aggravated murder charges. He used a shotgun to kill his estranged wife, Rhonda Short, and Donnie Ray Sweeney.

Kenneth W. Smith, 52, Butler County, admitted February 1996 on aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated murder. He slashed the neck and beat Lewis Ray and strangled Ruth Ray in their Hamilton home.

Clifford Williams, 45, Butler County, admitted February 1991 on breaking and entering, robbery, assault and aggravated murder charges. He shot to death Wayman Hamilton, 39, and stole his money.