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Cooey appeals to high court

Strickland denies bid for clemency. Inmate to be executed Tuesday

By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

Richard Wade Cooey's 22-year fight against execution is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the condemned inmate filed papers Friday with the nation's highest court in an effort to stave off Tuesday's scheduled execution.

The move comes on the same day Gov. Ted Strickland denied Cooey's request for clemency.

Also on Friday, three judges from the Akron-based 9th District Court of Appeals denied Cooey's request to join an appeal stemming from a Lorain County capital murder defendant.

Cooey was sentenced to death in 1986 for the kidnapping, robbery, rape and murders of University of Akron sorority sisters Dawn McCreery and Wendy Offredo. A co-defendant is serving a life sentence.

Dana Cole, a UA law professor and one of several attorneys working on Cooey's behalf, said he was with Cooey at the Ohio State Penitentiary in
Youngstown when Strickland's decision was received Friday morning.

''It was expected. He was not surprised,'' Cole said. ''Now we have to see if any other courts are willing to save him. We're getting down to the last few, so it's getting scary.''

Cooey's attorneys have filed a series of appeals in the last several weeks.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court have denied requests for stays based on Cooey's claims that his obesity and migraine headache medication compromises the state's ability to carry out his execution humanely.

Cooey, 41, has gained about 80 pounds during his 22 years on death row and now weighs nearly 270 pounds.

Strickland said that he denied clemency based on his and his staff's review of the proceedings, evidence, judicial decisions, Cooey's application for executive clemency, arguments for and against clemency and the unanimous recommendation against clemency by the Ohio Parole Board.

Cooey is to be transferred Sunday or Monday to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, where the state carries out its executions.

He was in Lucasville in 2003 and came within 12 hours of being executed before a federal judge granted him a stay.

Six members of McCreery's family plan to witness the execution. Offredo's family has declined to attend.

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or


Richard Wade Cooey's 22-year fight against execution is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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