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Anthony Kirkland asks jury: 'Please spare my life'

Sentencing decision goes to jury
Posted at 8:52 AM, Aug 03, 2018

CINCINNATI --  Convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland asked the jury to spare his life in a brief, unsworn statement as testimony ended in his resentencing hearing Friday.

WATCH Kirkland's statement in the video player above. Read it below.

"Eventually I will answer to a higher authority. I do not blame you if you kill me. I do not deserve to live, but please spare my life," Kirkland concluded.

Kirkland said he was sorry for the pain he had caused but added he was not there to beg for mercy, forgiveness or absolution.

Kirkland stood from his seat at the defense table and faced the judge's bench, then read from a piece of paper he held in both hands.

READ the complete text of Kirkland's statement:

"If we ask kindergarten students what they want to become, they would say a policeman, fireman, doctor, teacher, lawyer, pro athlete, maybe astronaut, perhaps rich and famous.

"Those kindergarten students would not say they want to be abused by those who should be caring for them and protecting them from the beginning of their early lives, nor become involved with drugs and alcohol early in life to cope with the lack of a sense of confidence and belonging.

"Nor would they want to cause others and themselves enormous grief as a goal in life. Nor would they say they want to become someone where I am at this moment in time.

"I am responsible for the deaths of Casonya Crawford, Mary Jo Newton, Kimya Rolison and Esme Kenney. I cannot offer an explanation for my atrocious acts.

"I understand I have hurt so many people with these horrible crimes. To all the families, friend and loved ones of those hurt and still hurting from my behavior, I am truly sorry for your pain.

"Please understand, though, I am not here to beg for mercy nor your forgiveness. I am not here to offer excuses. 

"I want to express this: We are all harmed if not hurt throughout our lifetime - some more than others, some more often than others, and some more severely than others.

"Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a caring family or outside guidance to help hurts heal correctly. Those without essential guidance use whatever devices are available to ease their pain, becoming more damaged than before.

"I am proof a young person - beaten and abused physically, emotionally and mentally - becomes the abuser. People have stated I am evil. People have stated I am a monster. I expected it.

"I cannot offer any justification for my senseless acts. I neither expect mercy or forgiveness. I am not looking for absolution. Eventually I will answer to a higher authority.

"I do not blame you if you kill me. I do not deserve to live, but please spare my life.

"That's it, Judge."


No one was allowed to question Kirkland, and he did not take the stand during his two-week hearing.

Jurors did hear Kirkland's  eight-hour interview with police after he was taken into custody on the day after he killed Kenney in 2009.

The jury will decided Kirkland’s fate - death penalty or life in prison – when deliberations begin Monday.

The defense tried to convince the jury that Kirkland has a brain injury or defect and that - along with PTSD, a childhood of physical and sexual abuse, and drug and alcohol use -  contributed to Kirkland's murders of five women and should be considered mitigating factors in sentencing.

Kirkland was sentenced to death in 2010 for raping and killing 13-year-old Kenney and 14-year-old Crawford and burning their bodies. But on appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that prosecutor Joe Deters made an inappropriate remark during closing arguments and ordered a resentencing hearing.

Deters told the jury that the murders of Kenney and Crawford would be “just freebies” for Kirkland unless he got the death penalty, since Kirkland was already serving life without parole for killing Newton and Rolison. Kirkland had served a 16-year sentence for a previous murder.

The defense is asking for life in prison without parole.