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Courts and Crime


Rare commutation in Ohio death penalty case
Governor concurs with parole board
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Gov. Ted Strickland has commuted the death sentence of a man the state planned to execute next week.

Strickland followed the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board in sparing the life of Richard Nields of Cincinnati. He strangled his girlfriend during an argument in 1997. But courts and the parole board raised big questions over expert testimony -- and whether the case fits the definition of a death penalty crime in Ohio. Among those raising the questions was Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer, who helped write Ohio's death penalty law.

Nields will remain in prison with no chance for parole.

Ohio has executed 14 men since Strickland became governor in 2007. The parole board has recommended clemency three times. Strickland agreed twice.

 
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