YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said dismissing the death penalty against convicted killer Willie Herring was “an extremely difficult decision,” but he said survivors expressed their desire to not go through another jury trial
Herring, who has been sitting on Ohio’s death row for 17 years, was convicted and sentenced to die for masterminding a robbery and shooting inside the old Newport Inn on Youngstown’s south side that left three people dead and two others wounded.
In December 2014, the Supreme Court of Ohio determined Herring’s original defense team failed to provide enough information during the penalty phase of his trial, requiring a re-sentencing.
Before Judge John Durkin re-sentenced Herring on Thursday, the two people who were shot spoke, including Debbie Aziz. They recalled robbery on April 30, 1996.
“You shot me. You tried to take my life,” she said. “I crawled across the floor at the Newport Inn and hid behind a trash can after you shot me.”
Aziz said she still suffers nightmares of the day, even 19 years later.
Margo Naze’s father, Herman, was one of the three people killed by Herring. She spoke directly to Herring.
“This is not about justice. There will never be justice for my father,” she said.
“The thing that I want you to understand is that there comes a time in your life that you have to own up to things in which you have done,” Naze said.
Herring was sentenced to a minimum of 103 years in prison before any chance of parole.
“If there is an appeal, which I don’t believe would be successful, it’s just going to be on the consecutive sentences and nothing else. For all intents and purposes, this case is closed and Mr. Herring will die in prison,” Gains said.