"Killer’s defense, prosecutors back mercy," is the AP report by Andrew Welsh-Huggins, via the Columbus Dispatch.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors who agree that a condemned Ohio killer should be spared disagree on almost everything else about the case.
Attorneys for Death Row inmate Arthur Tyler told the Ohio Parole Board yesterday that their client is innocent and should be freed based on statements by a co-defendant. Cleveland prosecutors argued that Tyler’s sentence should be commuted to life without parole because of questions about the conviction. They maintain that Tyler was the man who fatally shot a Cleveland produce vendor in 1983.
The prosecutor’s filing with the parole board also says the lack of the option of life without parole at the time may have led jurors to sentence Tyler to death. The only options under Ohio law in 1983 for jurors sentencing Tyler were death or life with parole after 20 or 30 years. Ohio lawmakers added life without parole as an option in 1996.
"Prosecutor's Office Asks Parole Board To Commute Death Sentence," is by Ohio Public Radio, via WCBE-FM.
The main piece of evidence, according to the defense, is testimony by an alleged accomplice Leroy Head. But Tyler’s lawyers say Head only testified against Tyler after a prosecutor threatened Head himself with the death penalty.
In a video presentation before the parole board, the defense says Head is actually the man who pulled the trigger.
Presentation: “In April 1986 Leroy Head signed a written statement consistent with his second statement that he alone attempted to rob and indeed shot while Arthur was inside the meat market attempting to cash a check.”
Vicki Werneke with the public defender’s office says alleged misconduct by the prosecutors and judge led to Tyler’s conviction and death sentence.
Werneke: “At the conclusion we hope that the board would agree that there is grave doubt about Arthur’s guilt in this case—the unfairness of the death sentence considering that Leroy Head is now walking free in Cleveland—that clemency is the only avenue available to correct this disparity.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, "Prosecutors, defense attorneys urge Ohio Parole Board to spare death row inmate's life," by Jeremy Pelzer.
Tyler, 54, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on May 28. The parole board will make a recommendation early next month to Gov. John Kasich, who has the sole power to grant clemency.
Tyler has admitted that on the day of the murder, March 12, 1983, he and Leroy Head went to the East 66th Meat Market with a gun intending to rob the place. But while Tyler went into the market to scout ahead, his attorneys said, Head held up Leach’s nearby produce van, then shot Leach twice.
Head initially admitted to pulling the trigger, Tyler’s attorneys said, but he changed his story after prosecutors threatened him with the death penalty if he didn’t testify against Tyler. Head was sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 2008.
Head later recanted his testimony multiple times, including in sworn affidavits, according to his attorneys.
Earlier coverage of the Ohio case of Arthur Tyler begins at the link.