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6th Circuit Has Questions Re Summit Cty Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh
by Abolitionist and Beacon Journal Wednesday, Apr. 01, 2009 at 4:02 PM

http://www.ohio.com/news/42252787.html 6th Circuit Judges Have Questions About Prosecutor Sherry Bevan Walsh Brett Hartmann's appeal in Ohio was turned down by the Republican dominated Ohio Supreme Court. Texas the most executing state has 9 Republicans on its Madame DeFarge Texas Supreme Court. But thanks to the Beacon Journal, hard working attorneys, a great number of prayers and 3 judges on the 6th Circuit, a great number of questions have been raised about Summit County prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. a. she did not ask for an alibi nor did the police.. of the most likely suspect b. the career oriented Walsh offered a jail house snitch a reduced sentence in exchange for his perjury c. she did not examine DNA evidence Nor did Governor Strickland, the Ohio Supreme Court, the parole board. Ms Walsh along with Cleveland Cincinnati and Columbus prosecutors is one factor in Ohio's role as the only northern state in the US involved in governmental murder. Only 9 of 50 states are still involved in execution. The most recent states to join the majority of nonexecuting ones are New Jersey and New Mexico. Only 25 of the 192 countries in the UN are still involved in the barbarism of governmental murder. Judges who kill in cold premeditated murder with their pens over and over as serial murderers are more culpable than those who kll in hot passion. The 5 men on the US Supreme Court who have killed over and over, denying clemency to the innocent and those who have done what they're accused of... are none of them elected. They call themselves prolife Catholics. They were nominated by the most killing governor in Texas, George Bush, whose warmongering in Iraq and Afghanistan was accomplished through vote fraud. Then these unelected judges were ratified by a Senate including Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn, and many other Diebold (now Premier), ESS, and other vote fraud ensconced senators. Most of the world's nominal democracies elect their 'highest' court judges. Who are guilty of contempt of the US Supreme Court? Billions of people.



Prepared to say goodbye, tearful Hartmann gets stay of execution
Federal court to reassess all evidence, including question of key prosecution witness's testimony

By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

Published on Wednesday, Apr 01, 2009

YOUNGSTOWN: Brett Hartmann rushed into the room, his eyes filling with tears, one hand waving a fistful of papers, his other flashing a thumb's up.

His funeral, for now, has been canceled.

''I got a stay,'' the condemned inmate shouted in a crackling voice to about two dozen family and friends gathered inside the Ohio State Penitentiary.

With a federal court order faxed to the prison at about 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, Hartmann's scheduled execution next week has been stayed indefinitely.

Hartmann and his attorneys have been seeking more time to pursue his claims of innocence, most recently based on evidence provided by the Beacon Journal that a key prosecution witness may have committed perjury.

The Ohio Supreme Court this week denied a similar request.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 3-0 decision, cited ''uncertainty'' about Hartmann's guilt in the 1997 kidnapping and murder of Winda Snipes inside her Highland Square apartment.

The court wants more time to ''reassess all of the evidence.'' State attorneys said that they are ''reviewing'' the decision.

''To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything,'' Hartmann said. ''I've just tried to maintain a good mix of faith and denial. Finally, a court has said it will listen to us.''

With the court papers still in his hand, Hartmann tearfully embraced his girlfriend, Debbie Gavin, who traveled 30 hours from Melbourne, Australia, to attend the prison's family event. Others in the gathering cried and joined their hands in prayer.

Hartmann and prison officials granted the Beacon Journal rare access to the gathering, a little-publicized tradition designed for goodbyes for loved ones in the days before an execution.

Gavin was joined by Hartmann's mother, two sisters, his nephews, his aunt, an uncle and several friends.

''I'm so grateful,'' said Hartmann's mother, Carol Parcell, 69, who still lives in Akron. ''Hopefully, they will really look at the evidence and justice will be seen for Brett, for Winda and her family.''

DNA testing sought

In recent weeks, Hartmann's attorneys have filed a flurry of motions seeking DNA testing on evidence never-before examined. They are also seeking an investigation of a former jail inmate who became a key prosecution witness at Hartmann's trial.

Based on information provided by the Beacon Journal, Hartmann's attorneys have filed motions contending former inmate Bryan Tyson of Akron may have perjured himself when he testified that Hartmann confided in him before trial that he killed Snipes.

Tyson's former attorney, Tom Adgate, tried to report the perjury to the trial judge and the Ohio Supreme Court after Hartmann's conviction, the newspaper learned. Adgate was unable to do so because of attorney-client privilege restrictions, a source close to the case told the Beacon Journal.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Adgate said he could neither confirm nor deny the perjury claims. He also declined to say whether Tyson was being truthful when he testified for the state in exchange for a lighter sentence on a domestic violence and weapons charge.



Tyson, 47, ordered a reporter from his East Mapledale Avenue porch when asked Monday about his testimony.

Prosecutors do not diminish Tyson's role in Hartmann's conviction. In a letter last week in which she refused more DNA testing, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh cited Tyson's testimony first among her list of evidence.

''We're very pleased that the court will finally take a look at the questions regarding the evidence,'' said David Stebbins, Hartmann's federal public defender. ''In the meantime, we hope to get more information on Tyson and have some hair and other evidence tested.''

In their ruling, the three 6th Circuit judges cited some of the questions Hartmann's supporters have raised for years and reporters have raised in recent weeks. Aside from newly discovered concerns about Tyson's testimony, the judges questioned the Akron police investigation of Snipes' former boyfriend and apartment neighbor, Jeffrey Nicholas of Akron.

According to neighbors and friends, the couple had a turbulent relationship and Nicholas threatened to cut Snipes' throat about a week before her death. An Akron police detective has recently conceded that Nicholas was never asked to provide an alibi for the time of the murder.

Nicholas refused comment when contacted.

The 6th Circuit judges called Nicholas' alibi into question, saying it ''apparently has been found to no longer coincide with the time of the victim's death.''

In addition, the judges cited the lack of DNA testing on several pieces of evidence, including hairs mixed with Snipes' blood and an electric analog clock in her home that stopped at 4:40. The clock could indicate the time of death. If so, phone records show Hartmann was home at the time.

Prosecutors and detectives, however, say that his semen was found on Snipes body; her blood was on his T-shirt, which was found behind his bed; and Hartmann lied about finding the body and making anonymous 911 calls.

Snipes, 46, was beaten, strangled and stabbed and her hands were severed and taken.

Hartmann, 34, contends he was with Snipes, whom he described as a casual lover, the morning before her murder. He said he found her body and panicked, fearing police would pin the murder on him. He cleaned up evidence of his visit and left.

Police never found the hands or the murder weapon.

No clemency ruling

The Ohio Parole Board recommended against clemency last month and Gov. Ted Strickland has not ruled on its recommendation.

During Tuesday's family day event, Hartmann was dressed in traditional death row garb: a white smock and navy blue cotton pants with a red stripe down the leg. Unlike most visits, he was uncuffed and allowed to kiss, hug and talk for hours.

The group stood or sat in a circle of chairs inside an expansive and guarded prison community room that included restrooms and vending machines.

From time to time, Hartmann and his guests cracked jokes, trying to deflect thoughts of the inmate's looming death.

Hartmann also performed his first wedding since becoming an ordained minister while on death row. His nephew Vince Wolpert, 28, married girlfriend, Amanda Gittus, 22. The couple flew in from Chandler, Ariz., for the visit. They will make the marriage legal later this year.

''To me, the sentiment is still there,'' the bride said.

Prison officials say Hartmann's family day guest list of more than 30 was larger than that for most condemned inmates.

Hartmann held hands with his girlfriend through most of the visit. Gavin, 40, said she met Hartmann through a prison Web site and began exchanging letters. Their writing turned into visits and love, despite the distance, she said. She came to Ohio for Tuesday's visit and planned to witness his execution.

''I stopped saying I love him because of the brush we get painted with,'' she said. ''But he'll tell you I'm his rock and I guess he's my rock, too. We're both very relieved by the court's decision.''




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com.



Death row inmate Brett Hartmann talks about his case during an interview at the Ohio State Penitentiary on March 10 in Youngstown. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal) (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL)
View more photos>> YOUNGSTOWN: Brett Hartmann rushed into the room, his eyes filling with tears, one hand waving a fistful of papers, his other flashing a thumb's up.

His funeral, for now, has been canceled.

''I got a stay,'' the condemned inmate shouted in a crackling voice to about two dozen family and friends gathered inside the Ohio State Penitentiary.

With a federal court order faxed to the prison at about 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, Hartmann's scheduled execution next week has been stayed indefinitely.

Hartmann and his attorneys have been seeking more time to pursue his claims of innocence, most recently based on evidence provided by the Beacon Journal that a key prosecution witness may have committed perjury.

The Ohio Supreme Court this week denied a similar request.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 3-0 decision, cited ''uncertainty'' about Hartmann's guilt in the 1997 kidnapping and murder of Winda Snipes inside her Highland Square apartment.

The court wants more time to ''reassess all of the evidence.'' State attorneys said that they are ''reviewing'' the decision.

''To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything,'' Hartmann said. ''I've just tried to maintain a good mix of faith and denial. Finally, a court has said it will listen to us.''

With the court papers still in his hand, Hartmann tearfully embraced his girlfriend, Debbie Gavin, who traveled 30 hours from Melbourne, Australia, to attend the prison's family event. Others in the gathering cried and joined their hands in prayer.

Hartmann and prison officials granted the Beacon Journal rare access to the gathering, a little-publicized tradition designed for goodbyes for loved ones in the days before an execution.

Gavin was joined by Hartmann's mother, two sisters, his nephews, his aunt, an uncle and several friends.

''I'm so grateful,'' said Hartmann's mother, Carol Parcell, 69, who still lives in Akron. ''Hopefully, they will really look at the evidence and justice will be seen for Brett, for Winda and her family.''

DNA testing sought

In recent weeks, Hartmann's attorneys have filed a flurry of motions seeking DNA testing on evidence never-before examined. They are also seeking an investigation of a former jail inmate who became a key prosecution witness at Hartmann's trial.

Based on information provided by the Beacon Journal, Hartmann's attorneys have filed motions contending former inmate Bryan Tyson of Akron may have perjured himself when he testified that Hartmann confided in him before trial that he killed Snipes.

Tyson's former attorney, Tom Adgate, tried to report the perjury to the trial judge and the Ohio Supreme Court after Hartmann's conviction, the newspaper learned. Adgate was unable to do so because of attorney-client privilege restrictions, a source close to the case told the Beacon Journal.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Adgate said he could neither confirm nor deny the perjury claims. He also declined to say whether Tyson was being truthful when he testified for the state in exchange for a lighter sentence on a domestic violence and weapons charge.



Tyson, 47, ordered a reporter from his East Mapledale Avenue porch when asked Monday about his testimony.

Prosecutors do not diminish Tyson's role in Hartmann's conviction. In a letter last week in which she refused more DNA testing, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh cited Tyson's testimony first among her list of evidence.

''We're very pleased that the court will finally take a look at the questions regarding the evidence,'' said David Stebbins, Hartmann's federal public defender. ''In the meantime, we hope to get more information on Tyson and have some hair and other evidence tested.''

In their ruling, the three 6th Circuit judges cited some of the questions Hartmann's supporters have raised for years and reporters have raised in recent weeks. Aside from newly discovered concerns about Tyson's testimony, the judges questioned the Akron police investigation of Snipes' former boyfriend and apartment neighbor, Jeffrey Nicholas of Akron.

According to neighbors and friends, the couple had a turbulent relationship and Nicholas threatened to cut Snipes' throat about a week before her death. An Akron police detective has recently conceded that Nicholas was never asked to provide an alibi for the time of the murder.

Nicholas refused comment when contacted.

The 6th Circuit judges called Nicholas' alibi into question, saying it ''apparently has been found to no longer coincide with the time of the victim's death.''

In addition, the judges cited the lack of DNA testing on several pieces of evidence, including hairs mixed with Snipes' blood and an electric analog clock in her home that stopped at 4:40. The clock could indicate the time of death. If so, phone records show Hartmann was home at the time.

Prosecutors and detectives, however, say that his semen was found on Snipes body; her blood was on his T-shirt, which was found behind his bed; and Hartmann lied about finding the body and making anonymous 911 calls.

Snipes, 46, was beaten, strangled and stabbed and her hands were severed and taken.

Hartmann, 34, contends he was with Snipes, whom he described as a casual lover, the morning before her murder. He said he found her body and panicked, fearing police would pin the murder on him. He cleaned up evidence of his visit and left.

Police never found the hands or the murder weapon.

No clemency ruling

The Ohio Parole Board recommended against clemency last month and Gov. Ted Strickland has not ruled on its recommendation.

During Tuesday's family day event, Hartmann was dressed in traditional death row garb: a white smock and navy blue cotton pants with a red stripe down the leg. Unlike most visits, he was uncuffed and allowed to kiss, hug and talk for hours.

The group stood or sat in a circle of chairs inside an expansive and guarded prison community room that included restrooms and vending machines.

From time to time, Hartmann and his guests cracked jokes, trying to deflect thoughts of the inmate's looming death.

Hartmann also performed his first wedding since becoming an ordained minister while on death row. His nephew Vince Wolpert, 28, married girlfriend, Amanda Gittus, 22. The couple flew in from Chandler, Ariz., for the visit. They will make the marriage legal later this year.

''To me, the sentiment is still there,'' the bride said.

Prison officials say Hartmann's family day guest list of more than 30 was larger than that for most condemned inmates.

Hartmann held hands with his girlfriend through most of the visit. Gavin, 40, said she met Hartmann through a prison Web site and began exchanging letters. Their writing turned into visits and love, despite the distance, she said. She came to Ohio for Tuesday's visit and planned to witness his execution.

''I stopped saying I love him because of the brush we get painted with,'' she said. ''But he'll tell you I'm his rock and I guess he's my rock, too. We're both very relieved by the court's decision.''





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com.

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