The appeal of an Akron woman sentenced to life in prison for her role in the gruesome 2005 murder of her cousin Steven Spade of Mogadore was denied today.
The Ohio 9th District Court of Appeals upheld the 2006 aggravated murder conviction of Lisa R. Penix, 22, who was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 23 years by a Summit County Common Pleas jury. She was found guilty of luring Spade to the basement of an Akron home where he was beaten, shot and beheaded. His body was taken to West Virginia, where the corpse was dumped and set on fire.
Spade's disappearance went unsolved for more than six months until Penix went to police and provided details of the murder. Subsequently, she, Patrick Shane Rafferty, Derek Shutt, William Kramer and Jason Keenan were all charged in the murder.
Penix was seeking a new trial claiming prosecutorial misconduct and that witnesses lied when they testified about her involvement in Spade's murder. Further, lawyers for Penix, who is serving her time in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, argued the harshness of her sentence.
In denying Penix's appeal Judge William R. Baird wrote, ''In nearly two decades as a judge, I have never seen a case filled with more evil. The illicit drug use, trading of sexual favors and the random selection of which person would live and which would die is unfathomable. The senseless and barbaric killing and mutilation of another person for absolutely no reason provided a more than adequate basis to support the trial judge's sentence.''
In addition to Penix, Rafferty, 29, was sentenced to life without parole; Kramer, 25, and Shutt, 45, are serving life in prison without the chance of parole for 25 years; Keenan, 33, received one year in a work-release program after being convicted of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.
The motivation for the murder was jealously, said prosecutors. Rafferty was apparently upset about Spade's attraction to an exotic dancer whom Rafferty was dating. Rafferty had Penix lure Spade to his East Doris Street home.
According to prosecutors Spade was tied to a chair, beaten by Rafferty and Kramer, shot in the head by Rafferty and then beheaded by Rafferty, Kramer, and Shutt.
Carl Chancellor can be reached at 330-996-3725 or firstname.lastname@example.org.