Does this look like 200 people to you?
Thought not! That's how many attended yesterday's (September 26) Stand Up for an End to Executions rally at the Statehouse... at least according to the Dispatch. (OK, this isn't the best picture but I only took one long shot, and it covers the back half of the plaza approximately.
DeSales High School alone sent over 100 kids.
The Dispatch's coverage of the event is so empty that I can offer only an educated surmise that the Wolfes like state executions and want to downplay the growing anti-death penalty movement in Ohio. Or maybe the Dispatch just went home after the first hour since its coverage is limited to repetitive speeches from "the faith community" In case you wonder, "pro-life" Patriot Pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson were not there waving their freak flags.
Ohioans to Stop Executions, sponsor of the event, which included a prayer vigil at Trinity Episcopal, a teach-in at the Broad Street United Methodist Church, and after-rally lobbying, hoped that 6,000 would participate. About 1600 pre-registered. I didn't do a count but judging from previous events I've covered at the statehouse, I'd say well over 1000 showed up. At least 250 attended the teach-in.
Whatever... the Dispatch ignored or forgot to mention the meat of the rally: the keynote by former Bexar County, Texas (San Antonio) District Attorney Sam Millsap, who successfully prosecuted several capital punishment cases including the high profile Ruben Cantu case. Millsap is now an anti-death penalty activist. The Dispatch forgot or ignored Margery Koosed ABA Ohio Death Penalty Study Commission member. It forgot or ignored Jeff Gamso, Ohio ACLU Legal Director jutting his finger at the Statehouse and then towards the Ohio Supreme Court shouting "Stop it now! Stop it now!" The Dispatch forgot or ignored the moving anti-execution testimony of Dave Anthony. More than 30 years ago Anthony's parents were robbed and then shot execution-style by Akron teenager Carl Bayless, a walk-away from a state youth facility doing time for a murder he committed when he was 14 Finally, the Dispatch forgot or ignored Gary Beeman, (above) convicted on perjured testimony and sentenced to death in Ashtabula County in 1976. Three years later he was acquitted on retrial. (Full disclosure: I was a member of Beeman's defense team).
On September 24, the American Bar Association released a report, Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Ohio Death Penalty, a scathing examination of Ohio's legal and execution procedures. Noting that 5 Ohio death row inmates have been exonerated and released, it made 14 recommendations for improving procedures and an overall recommendation that executions be halted until the state can evaluate the current situation.
Hamilton County Prosecutor, rabid abortion foe and execution pimp Joe Deters snarks at the idea that innocent people are executed. (Hamilton has 37 inmates awaiting Death by Deters) "Tell me: Who is on death row that shouldn't be?" To these people, it's not about innocence, it's about whether their lawyer could have been a little trickier."
Tell that to Gary Beeman.