CINCINNATI – Anthony Kirkland came into the courtroom with his hands and feet shackled and deputies on both sides.
It wasn’t readily evident, but he was wearing a stun cuff on his leg that could deliver an electric shock. A deputy had the controls in his hand in case Kirkland acted up.
Defense attorneys objected to the stun cuff, but Judge Patrick Dinkelacker overruled them when the five-time killer’s resentencing got underway under heavy security Thursday at the Hamilton County Courthouse.
“Without stun belt, chains and shackles, I think it influences a jury and we want a jury that will be fair and impartial, and we think that will affect that,” said Kirkland’s attorney, Tim Cutcher.
“I don’t think there’s anything visible that will indicate to the jury in any way that he is under certain sort of restraints,” said Dinkelacker.
Even before Kirkland arrived, deputies checked the chairs where he’d be sitting.
The security concerns were prompted in part by Kirkland’s falling to the floor during an arraignment in 2009. That was in advance of the 2010 trial for the murders of 14-year old Casonya Crawford and 13-year old Esme Kenney.
Kirkland got the death penalty, but the Ohio Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing because of comments from Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that Kirkland deserved to die.
At the time, Deters said Kenney and Crawford would be “just freebies” for Kirkland unless he got the death penalty, since Kirkland was already serving life without parole for his previous two killings.
The witness list for the prosecution includes testimony from the girls’ mothers, Patricia Crawford and Lisa Kenney. Also testifying will be relatives of two other Kirkland murder victims — Mary Jo Newton and Kimya Rollison.
Jury selection begins Monday. The trial is expected to last two weeks.