Two different items appear in blog posts at the Columbus Dispatch, today. Both are filed by Alan Johnson.
Melinda Dawson, the new chairwoman of Ohioans to Stop Executions, has personal experience with the criminal justice system.
A long-time board member of the death penalty abolitionist organization, Dawson was in the headlines nine years ago when her then-husband, Clarence Elkins, was released from prison seven years after being wrongfully accused and convicted of murdering her mother. With her help, and the aid of a cigarette butt carrying the DNA of the real killer, the injustice was eventually correctly.
“As a longtime board member of Ohioans to Stop Executions, I’ve often heard people say, ‘You’d be for the death penalty if your loved one was murdered.’ I can tell you, as someone whose mother was brutally murdered, that I am 100% against the death penalty. The death penalty complicated my life in the worst ways when I was supposed to be grieving for my mother. The families of victims deserve peace and they need someone to listen.”
Also, "Arthur Tyler to Gov. Kasich: 'I am not a monster'." Here's the beginning:
Former Death Row inmate Arthur Tyler says he would like to thank Gov. John Kasich for sparing his life. But he can't.
"You didn't give me the gift of life, you re-sentenced me to death in prison for a murder I did not commit," Tyler says in an "open letter" to Kasich obtained by The Dispatch.
Kasich spared Tyler from his scheduled execution on May 28, but commuted his death sentence to life without the possibility of parole. Tyler, who claims he did not kill Sander Leach, a Cleveland vegetable seller, was moved to the general population section of Trumbull Correctional Institution, which means is no longer in lockup 23 of 24 hours every day.
"I can say it is a big change for me to walk around free of shackles, free of handcuffs. But sir, I am not free of this nightmare of wrongful conviction."