Ohio executes killer who repeatedly stabbed woman

Associated Press Modified: November 13, 2012 at 11:01 am •  Published: November 13, 2012
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Stebbins read a statement from Hartman's family in which they professed his innocence and asked for additional testing of scene evidence.

"We hope that the taking of Brett's innocent life might serve as a wake-up call to the flaws in our legal system," the statement said.

Hartman came within about a week of execution in 2009 before federal courts allowed him to pursue an innocence claim. When that claim failed, Hartman had a new date set last year, but that was postponed because of a federal lawsuit over Ohio's execution policy.

The Ohio Parole Board had unanimously denied Hartman's requests for clemency three times, citing the brutality of the Snipes' slaying and the "overwhelming evidence" of Hartman's guilt.

Hartman's attorneys long said that crucial evidence from the crime scene and Snipes' body had never been tested, raising questions about Hartman's innocence. The evidence included fingerprints allegedly found on a clock and a mop handle. Hartman also argued the evidence could implicate an alternate suspect.

The attorneys argued that if Hartman's innocence claim wasn't accepted, he should still have been be spared because of the effects of a "remarkably chaotic and nomadic early childhood," including being abandoned by his mother and left with an aunt on an isolated Indian reservation.

His lawyers also said Hartman's behavior in prison was exemplary and showed he was a changed man. They cited his devotion to religious studies, his development as an artist and community service projects in prison.

The state opposed those arguments, citing the strength of the evidence and the fact that courts have repeatedly upheld Hartman's conviction and death sentence. The state also said Hartman refused to take responsibility and show remorse.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached at http://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.