by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS | Associated Press
Lucasville — Ohio on Tuesday executed a condemned killer who claimed he was innocent of stabbing a woman 138 times, slitting her throat and cutting off her hands.
“I’m good, let’s roll,” Brett Hartman said in his final words.
Here is a five-part video interview with Hartman, conducted on Oct. 10 by Record Publishing Co.'s Capital Bureau Chief Marc Kovac:
Hartman was the 49th inmate put to death since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.
Hartman acknowledged that he had sex with Winda Snipes early on the morning of Sept. 9, 1997 at her Akron apartment. He also says he went back to Snipes’ apartment later that day, found her mutilated body and panicked, trying to clean up the mess before calling 911.
But Hartman said he didn’t kill her, a claim rejected by numerous courts over the years.
Hartman came within about a week of execution in 2009 before federal courts allowed him to pursue an innocence claim. When that claim failed, Hartman had a new date set last year, but that was postponed because of a federal lawsuit over Ohio’s execution policy.
The Ohio Parole Board had unanimously denied Hartman’s requests for clemency three times, citing the brutality of the Snipes’ slaying and the “overwhelming evidence” of Hartman’s guilt.
Hartman’s attorneys have long said that crucial evidence from the crime scene and Snipes’ body had never been tested, raising questions about Hartman’s innocence. The evidence included fingerprints allegedly found on a clock and a mop handle. Hartman also argued the evidence could implicate an alternate suspect.
The attorneys had argued that if Hartman’s innocence claim wasn’t accepted, he should still be spared because of the effects of a “remarkably chaotic and nomadic early childhood,” including being abandoned by his mother and left with an aunt on an isolated Indian reservation.
His lawyers also said Hartman’s behavior in prison was exemplary and showed he was a changed man. They cited his devotion to religious studies, his development as an artist and community service projects in prison.
The state opposed those arguments, citing the strength of the evidence and the fact that courts have repeatedly upheld Hartman’s conviction and death sentence. The state also said Hartman refused to take responsibility and show remorse.
“Hopefully Winda’s friends and family can now start the healing process, Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh said in statement after Hartman was executed.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached at http://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.