Ohio continues to deviate from its written execution policies in violation of a judge’s strict order to follow its own rules, according to attorneys for a condemned Ohio inmate who have asked that next month’s execution be delayed.
Lawyers for Brett Hartmann did not give examples of the problems but asked federal judge Gregory Frost in Akron to hold a hearing where they can present evidence.
The unspecified problems came during the April 18 execution of Mark Wiles of Portage County and the Sept. 20 execution of Donald Palmer of Belmont County, Hartmann’s attorneys said in a court filing late Thursday. They said the problems show that Hartmann and other inmates won’t be treated with equal protection under the law.
The attorneys said state officials, by not following their protocols, “will treat each of these inmates — including Hartmann — differently than other condemned inmates in administering an execution,” Hartmann’s attorneys said.
Hartmann is scheduled to die Nov. 13 for the Sept. 9, 1997, slaying of 46-year-old Winda Snipes of Akron. Snipes was beaten, strangled with a cord, stabbed 138 times, had her throat slit and her hands cut off, according to records submitted to the Ohio Parole Board by Summit County prosecutors.
The 38-year-old Hartmann says he’s innocent. He admitted having sex with Snipes sometime after midnight that day, going back to her apartment the following evening, finding her body and then wiping down anything he had touched, records show. He also called 911 about the body.
The parole board has rejected Hartmann’s request three times, citing the brutality of the crime and the “overwhelming evidence” of Hartmann’s guilt. The final decision is up to Gov. John Kasich, who has yet to announce his decision.
Some of the policies in question involve training that execution team members must undergo beforehand, requirements that two of three members of the execution team be qualified to administer drugs, and requirements that only members of the team can perform certain required tasks.
State officials said they would file a response opposing the request for the delay and an evidence hearing.