Ohio sets date of execution for killer of girls ages 3 and 17

Ohio has executed 51 inmates since resuming death penalty in 1999; there are 140 people on death row.
TNS Regional News
Aug 14, 2013


One of two men who opened fire in 2002 on eight people who were cornered in a Lima apartment kitchen, killing two girls ages 3 and 17, faces an execution date more than two years away.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday set Nov. 17, 2015, for the execution of Cleveland R. Jackson in the death of Leneshia Williams, 17.

The high court has been scheduling executions at roughly the rate of one every two months with Jackson, 35, now 12th in line.

The pace of executions in Ohio has slowed considerably after an unofficial six-month moratorium linked to a federal court review of the state’s lethal-injection procedures ended last year.

A task force convened by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is examining Ohio’s administrative death-penalty law, but she has made it clear the question of whether Ohio should have capital punishment is not on the panel’s menu.

Justice William M. O’Neill, elected last year, cast the sole dissenting vote against setting an execution date.

He stated in a prior case that he believes Ohio’s death penalty is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

Jackson and his half-brother, Jeronique D. Cunningham, went to the apartment of Loyshane Liles on Jan. 3, 2002, to rob him after purchasing crack cocaine from him earlier in the day.

The pair then forced him and seven others into the kitchen, robbed them, and then opened fire on them at close range. They hit all of them. Jayla Grant, 3, and Miss Williams died from head wounds.

No guns were recovered, but the testimony of the survivors helped to convict both.

The Ohio Supreme Court later upheld Jackson’s convictions in both deaths. But it struck down the death sentence related to the 3-year-old victim because the trial court had refused to allow Jackson’s lawyer to question jurors before the trial as to whether they were biased in favor of the death penalty in cases involving child murder victims.

Jackson was later resentenced in Allen County Common Pleas Court to life without parole in Jayla’s killing, but the death penalty for Miss Williams’ murder stands.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his final appeal earlier this year. He is part of pending litigation challenging the state’s execution protocol, but he has not received a stay in U.S. District Court in relation to that case.

James Jenkins, one of Jackson’s attorneys in Cleveland, said they will explore every avenue to prevent the execution, although all appeals have run their course.

“It just doesn’t seem right. If you throw out one [sentence], it should be good law for the other,” he said, referring to the state Supreme Court overturning the death sentence related to the 3-year-old’s shooting, but not the 17-year-old victim.

Allen County Prosecutor Juergen A. Waldick office did not return a call for comment.

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences in both killings for Cunningham, but no execution date has been set. Cunningham had claimed that the gun he held was inoperable and instead accused his half-brother. Cunningham marked his 41st birthday in prison on Tuesday.

Jackson and Cunningham are on death row in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution on aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, robbery, and other convictions. The execution chamber is located about 30 miles away at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville.

Ohio has executed 51 inmates since it resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1999. There are 140 people on death row.


By Jim Provance - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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As far as I am conerned , The State could open an express line and get done what should have been long ago

swiss family

I thank God that these 2 killers were tried in any other court with any other Judge other than our own Judge Conway

I have seen too many hardened criminals tell the Judge "I'm Sorry"... and if we are lucky he will ask them if they have learned their lesson, and if they say "Yes" no matter what the crime was they either to to the rehab house, or they are under "Intense Probation" which in reality is just probation.. it just sounds more threatening... I just wish that Judge Conway would tell them that n"this goes on your PERMANENT record" that should really scare them in Conway s court... it won't be too long until we have our own murder cases.. because Norwalk and Huron County is being talked about a lot especially by the real criminals.. to them this is a "gangsters paradise" you can do what you want to here and you will just get a stern look from the Judge and INTENSE PROBATION.. what a joke.. not really it is a disaster... but we are made to look like fools in my opinion

Scranton Tibbs

I agree swiss. I think it's just a matter of time before murders go on the rise here, or people start taking the law into their own hands because they are sick and tired of the excessive amounts of criminals around here. Either way, it's not looking good.


That is unbelievable when I see that the death penalty is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. What about the people they kill! They suffer way more than if the killer gets put to sleep. I say bring back electrocution or what about a firing squad?? Let me be first in line please!