John Spirko deserves new trial, not life sentence - Regina Brett
Plain Dealer Columnist
How does one measure doubt
Is John Spirko guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt
Beyond the shadow of a doubt
Beyond \"residual\" doubt
Gov. Ted Strickland moved Spirko off Ohio\'s death row this week after DNA tests could not link him to the crime scene. The governor halted the Jan. 24 execution and instead gave Spirko life without parole.
Strickland cited \"the slim residual doubt\" about Spirko\'s responsibility for the murder that arises from \"careful scrutiny of the case record.\"
Strickland said that doubt makes the death penalty \"inappropriate\" in this case.
Apparently, life in prison is appropriate for a man we doubt is guilty of murder.
Strickland acknowledged the lack of evidence to link Spirko to the 1982 murder of Postmaster Betty Jane Mottinger.
When I heard the governor decided not to let Spirko free or grant him a new trial, two words came to mind: Willie Horton.
Horton killed the political future of Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts during his run for president in 1988. As governor, Dukakis supported a program to let convicted felons out on weekend furloughs. While on furlough, Horton raped a woman and beat her fianc
The Kenny Richey Campaign supports and endorses this New Campaign for a Retrial for John Spirko. We believe justice has not been done in this case. Please read details of John\'s case and sign the petition and pass it onto others.
Justice needs to be done and needs to be seen to be done for John.
When Blind Justice becomes Blind Injustice.
Please send a message of support and let him know that the fight still goes on for justice for him
John Spirko 171-433
2001 East Central Avenue
P.O. Box 80033
Toledo, Ohio 43608
Documents and Letters from the Case.
The lastest articles will appear at the top.
To view articles published with information that the State says
\"only the killer would know\" scroll to bottom and start there
Click here http://justicedenied.org/jd_issue_27_spirko.pdf
to read John Spirko\'s story published in Justice Denied Issue 27. Even though there is no physical, scientific or forensic evidence linking John Spirko to the 1982 abduction and murder of Betty Jane Mottinger and he has not confessed to the crime, to date he has lost every court appeal. In May 2004 federal appeals court Judge Ronald Lee Coleman described his 1984 conviction as resting on a \"foundation of sand,\" and that the \"complete absence\" of physical evidence raised \"considerable doubt\" that he had been lawfully convicted.
The Dayton Daily News produced a video of its editorial of November 1, 2005 that outlines the case to stop Spirko\'s execution. Click here to play the 3 min. 30 second video on your computer using the Real Media Player. http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/daytondailynews/realmedia/1104clemency_du.ram
Or, Click http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/daytondailynews/video/1104clemency_du.wmv
STATEMENT BY JOHN SPIRKO\'S ATTORNEY\'S
John Spirko is an innocent man who has spent 25 very long and hard years in prison -- 23 on death row -- for a crime he did not commit. There can be no joy in the commutation of an innocent man\'s sentence to life without parole. The positive thing about Governor Strickland\'s commutation is that the State will now not execute an innocent man and that we can, and will, continue to fight for Mr. Spirko\'s complete exoneration and release.
We had told Governor Strickland that Mr. Spirko was prepared to waive all his constitutional rights to allow the Van Wert County Prosecutor to again try him and seek the death penalty in a fair and honest trial -- not the trial he got in 1984, filled as it was with false evidence and a false theory of the case. All Mr. Spirko has ever asked for was to be judged fairly and honestly. We all now know that there is absolutely not one shred of evidence -- physical, forensic or otherwise -- linking Mr. Spirko to this crime. The recent DNA and fingerprint results for which we waited more than two years confirm that Mr. Spirko was not present at the crime scenes. Objectively corroborated evidence confirms that Mr. Spirko was meeting in Toledo with his parole officer at the very time this crime was being committed in Elgin, 100 miles away.
We will continue to urge Governor Strickland and Attorney General Dann to review Mr. Spirko\'s claims of actual innocence so that justice will be served by Mr. Spirko\'s release from prison and by finally prosecuting those actually responsible for Mrs. Mottinger\'s murder.
HOW TO CONTACT GOV. STRICKLAND:
If you choose to send an electronic message through e-mail, you