Ohio Supreme Court denies defense requests in 1990s Cincinnati murder cases

Lawyers filed requests after federal case
Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 16:56:06-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Supreme Court denied motions Wednesday for two death row inmates from Cincinnati seeking to avoid the death penalty in unrelated cases.

Lawyers for Bobby Sheppard sought to have his death sentence vacated and lawyers for Angelo Fears sought a stay of execution after the U.S. Supreme Court found Florida's capital punishment system violated the Sixth Amendment.

Sheppard, 40, shot and killed store owner Dennis Willhide during a College Hill robbery on Aug. 19, 1994. He was later found guilty of aggravated robbery and murder and sentenced to death.

Fears, 43, shot and killed Antwuan Gilliam during a drug deal-turned-robbery on March 29, 1997 in Over-the-Rhine. He was later found guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced to death.

Fears was scheduled to be put to death on Sept. 17, 2015, but the execution was delayed due to a shortage of lethal drugs.

In the Florida case, the U.S. Supreme court said that the jurors in Timothy Hurst's trial did not have enough say in deciding he should be executed for a 1998 murder. 

The Ohio Supreme Court has decided that the Florida case does not apply to Ohio's death penalty system. However, Justice William O'Neill dissented from the majority decision in both cases, saying Sheppard should get a resentencing the Fears' execution should be stayed.

The court also denied a motion to vacate a death sentence in a case out of Greene County Wednesday.