Ohio high court again upholds serial killer’s death sentence

Posted at 12:01 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 12:01:04-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The death sentence of an Ohio serial killer whose victims included two teenage girls was once again upheld, according to a state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday.

Defendant Anthony Kirkland was originally sentenced to death in 2010 for killing 14-year-old Casonya Crawford in 2006 and 13-year-old Esme Kenney in 2009 in Hamilton County in southwestern Ohio.

Kirkland was also convicted of killing two women in 2006 in what prosecutors said was the same ongoing slaying spree and received life sentences for those deaths.

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld Kirkland’s death sentence in 2014, then reversed itself in 2016 to allow Kirkland’s attorneys to present evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, including speculating on Esme’s dying thoughts in closing arguments.

A Hamilton County jury again sentenced Kirkland to death in 2018. On Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld that ruling, rejecting arguments by Kirkland’s attorneys that he should be spared because of the prosecutor’s alleged misconduct, the effects of brain damage Kirkland suffered on his personality and physical, mental and sexual abuse Kirkland experienced during childhood.

Kirkland’s attorney declined comment.