Friend of Kirkland victim: He's a monster

Posted at 12:39 AM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 03:45:25-04

CINCINNATI -- Daniell Smith calls Anthony Kirkland a man-made monster.

"I mean, it's still hard to digest that he's still alive," Smith said.

But not only is the convicted killer still alive, he might not get the death penalty: Four of seven justices on the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to send Kirkland's case back to trial court for a new sentencing hearing.

Casonya Crawford

Casonya Crawford, 14, was one of Kirkland's victims, as well as Esme Kenney, 13; Mary Jo Newton, 45; and Kimya Rolison, 25.

Kirkland was found guilty of aggravated murder, attempted rape and other charges in the Kenney and Crawford deaths. Before his trial, Kirkland also pleaded guilty to the slayings of Newton and Rolison, and received life sentences. He previously served a 16-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.

Smith, Crawford's close friend, said she doesn't understand why Kirkland deserves a new sentencing.

"I am angry," Smith said. "I am not happy. We want peace, and he deserves to get what he deserves."


Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Julie Wilson told WCPO the county prosecutor plans to file a response to the ruling. Prosecutor Joe Deters will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider or offer some clarification on the decision.

MORE: The legal rationale behind the decision

"We think the Supreme Court of Ohio may have misinterpreted current law," Deters said. "We are asking them to reconsider."

If Kirkland does get a new sentencing hearing, Smith said she'll be there.

"The family just wants closure," she said. "We all want closure."