The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal by Donna Roberts, the only woman on Death Row in Ohio.
The death sentence for Roberts, 69, was overturned last fall but she remains at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville pending appeals. She was found guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced to death for plotting with her boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, to kill her ex-husband, Robert Fingerhut, on Dec. 11, 2001.
The Ohio Supreme Court overturned Roberts’ death sentence – but not her guilty verdict - last October and sent the case back to Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for re-resentencing.
Roberts’ attorney then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider an appeal of the Ohio court’s decision, arguing she should be allowed to offer mitigating evidence about why she should not receive the death penalty. That was rejected today without comment by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case has bounced back and forth between courts for several years. In 2006, the Ohio Supreme Court sent the case back to Trumbull County for re-sentencing for the first time, finding the trial judge improperly allowed the prosecutor to help draft the sentencing opinion.
Roberts was subsequently re-sentenced to death, but the Ohio Supreme Court again rejected the sentence, this time because the trial court judge erred by failing to note in his decision that he had considered the fact she waived mitigation in her case.
By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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