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1 DEATH PENALTY FOR OHIO WOMEN Victor Streib author of FAIRER DEATH: EXECUTING WOMEN IN OHIO.

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Presentation on theme: "1 DEATH PENALTY FOR OHIO WOMEN Victor Streib author of FAIRER DEATH: EXECUTING WOMEN IN OHIO."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 DEATH PENALTY FOR OHIO WOMEN Victor Streib author of FAIRER DEATH: EXECUTING WOMEN IN OHIO

2 2 THE FAIRER DEATH: EXECUTING WOMEN IN OHIO Stories of 4 women executed in history of Ohio Stories of 11 women sentenced to death in current era (post 1972) Analysis of death penalty process for women who kill

3 3 EXECUTING WOMEN IN U.S. ALL U.S. HISTORY (1632-present): 568 executions of girls and women Only 3% of all executions in U.S. Led by VA (123), MA (49), & MD (47) CURRENT ERA (post-1972): 11 executions of women, Only 1% of all executions in U.S. Led by OK (3), TX (3), & FL (2) “MONSTER” Aileen Wuornos, FL, 2002

4 4 HESTER FOSTER Sentenced to death Jan. 9, 1844 Executed February 9, 1844 Black woman, a prison inmate in Columbus Penitentiary Beat to death white female inmate Assisted by another black female Her hanging in Columbus was attended by a drunken crowd of thousands

5 5 ANNA MARIE HAHN Sentenced to death Nov. 28, 1937 Executed Dec. 7, 1938 Poisoned 4 elderly men in Cincinnati Rare serial killer Demonized as “that German woman” May have been covering for her son

6 6 DOVIE DEAN Sentenced to death Feb. 23, 1953 Executed January 15, 1954 First husband in prison for raping her daughter Married rich farmer who lived near Owensville on farm east of Cincinnati 4 months later, she poisoned new husband

7 7 BETTY BUTLER Sentenced to death April 5, 1953 Executed June 12, 1954 Strangled and drowned her black female lover at lake near Cincinnati Her defense was need to escape sexual slavery Last woman executed in Ohio

8 8 ANALYZING CASES OF EXECUTED OHIO WOMEN 2 black women violently killed “less important” victims 2 white women poisoned “more important” victims 3 of 4 cases in or near Cincinnati Last 3 cases apparently had competent defense attorneys Why were the thousands of other women who killed in Ohio not executed?

9 9 LAST HALF CENTURY SINCE 1954 OHIO: 45 men have been executed in Ohio No women executed in Ohio NATIONALLY: About 1,700 men executed nationally Only 14 women executed, 1% of total

10 10 DEATH SENTENCES IN CURRENT ERA (post-1972) Nationally, 159 women sentenced to death, but only 50 still on death row 11 executions; 66% reversal rate In Ohio, 11 women sentenced to death, but only 1 still on death row No executions; 91% reversal rate

11 11 BRIEF HISTORY OF OHIO DEATH PENALTY LAWS Ohio has had death penalty since 1804 Overturned in 1972 by U. S. S. Ct. case New statute enacted within few months 4 women sentenced under this 1972 statute Overturned in 1978 by U. S. S. Ct. case Sandra Lockett case New statute enacted in 1981 Current statute in force in Ohio

12 12 PATRICIA WERNERT Sentenced to death on Nov. 22, 1976 Now serving life in prison She helped her husband hire a hit-man to kill husband’s mother and grandmother Motive was to inherit victims’ estates Death sentence reversal part of all-Ohio ruling

13 13 SHARON YOUNG Sentenced to death on Sept. 30, 1983 Now serving life in prison Extremely drunk when she murdered and robbed gay bar owner Conviction and death sentence reversed in 1988 Reconvicted at 2 nd trial and given life sentence Eligible for parole in 2013

14 14 ROSALIE GRANT Sentenced to death on Oct. 21, 1983 Now serving life in prison Burned her two baby boys to death as they slept Life insurance policies just taken out Death sentence affirmed on appeal but commuted in 1991

15 15 DEBRA BROWN Sentenced to death on June 18, 1985 Now serving life in prison She and her husband killed 8 people in 6 states Sentenced to death both in Ohio and in Indiana Mentally retarded, abused as child, and under control of husband Ohio death sentence commuted to life

16 16 ELIZABETH GREEN Sentenced to death on July 11, 1988 Now serving life in prison Robbed and murdered elderly drug dealer Retarded, abused, and easily manipulated Committed crime with female friend

17 17 BEATRICE LAMPKIN Sentenced to death on April 26, 1989 Now serving life in prison Hired hit-man to kill her abusive husband Assisted by daughter who also was abused Unsuccessfully used Battered Woman Syndrome as defense

18 18 DONNA ROBERTS Sentenced to death on June 21, 2003 Reversed on August 2, 2006 Helped her black lover kill her white husband Refused to permit any defense at penalty trial OH Sup. Ct. reversed death sentence in 2006

19 19 NICOLE DIAR Sentenced to death Nov. 2, 2005 Now on Ohio’s death row Burned her 4-yr-old son to death She had been burned badly herself at age 4 Elyria trial fully covered by Court TV Only woman now on death row in Ohio

20 20 CASES OF OHIO WOMEN SENTENCED TO DEATH Offenders: 6 black, 5 white Victims: 5 black, 7 white Only black women sentenced to death for killing black victims 6 of 11 women had mental disabilities 7 of 11 women did not kill victims themselves All 11 cases from urban or suburban areas Why were these 11 women selected to die?

21 21 SEX BIAS IN OHIO’S DEATH PENALTY? Language of statutes and cases gender neutral (“any person”; “he, she, or they..”) Statutes expressly prohibit discrimination in sentencing based upon sex of offender Some death sentencing factors may affect men or women offenders differently Hiring killer; child victim Under duress; no criminal record

22 22 DO NUMBERS REVEAL BIAS? 486 executions in all of Ohio history Only 4 (0.8%) were of women 45 executions in Ohio since 1954 None were of women 190 people now on death row in Ohio Only 1 (0.5%) is a woman *************************************** Women commit about 10% of capital crimes, receive about 2% of the death sentences, and comprise less than 1% of executions


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