Lawmakers consider eliminating Ohio death penalty

House Bill 389 was given its first hearing this week

FILE – In this November 2005 file photo, Larry Greene, public information director of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, demonstrates how a curtain is pulled between the death chamber and witness room at the prison in Lucasville, Ohio. With Ohio’s next execution scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, the state has sufficiently replenished its lethal drug supply to carry out nearly 20 executions under certain conditions, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
FILE – In this November 2005 file photo, Larry Greene, public information director of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, demonstrates how a curtain is pulled between the death chamber and witness room at the prison in Lucasville, Ohio. With Ohio’s next execution scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, the state has sufficiently replenished its lethal drug supply to carry out nearly 20 executions under certain conditions, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – For the fourth time in a row, State Representative Nickie Antonio from Cuyahoga County has introduced legislation at the Statehouse that would abolish the death penalty.

Her three previous attempts have been relatively fruitless in starting a debate about the issue at the Statehouse.

This time, Antonio is hoping for a deeper dialog with members of the House Criminal Justice Committee the bill has been assigned to.

As was the case last year, at least one Republican has already agreed to be a co-sponsor on the bill but unlike abortion, capital punishment is not necessarily a partisan issue.

House Bill 389 was given its first hearing this week, and Antonio hopes it will receive at least two more — one for supporters of the measure and one for opponents.

Antonio says now is a perfect time for both sides to take another look at capital punishment — how it has been handled in recent years and the trends being seen nationally, given recent events connected to the topic.

It will be up to State Representative Nathan Manning from Lorain County, whether the bill will receive any more hearings or if he plans to let it languish in committee for the next year.

Meanwhile, an attorney for Brian Golsby has filed a motion to put his trial on hold.

Golsby is accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering Reagan Tokes. He faces the death penalty.

The argument is that if Antonio’s bill passes into law, then the prosecution could not seek the death penalty in the case. He wants the judge to put it on hold until the bill can be resolved.

However, one does not simply resolve a piece of legislation, and it is possible that Antonio’s bill just sits there in the House Criminal Justice Committee for the next 12 months without any more movement.

At the end of the session, on December 31, 2018, the bill could fulfill one kind of resolution by failing.

According to Golsby’s attorney, the judge has not yet ruled on his motion.

Antonio had no idea her bill was cited in this motion to stay, and when told about it, she chose not to discuss Golsby’s case.

Antonio did say, “There are people who have committed monstrous, monstrous things; and they should be punished to the full extent of the law.”

She says those people should spend the rest of their natural-born life in prison, where they will have to wake up every day and look at themselves in the mirror and wonder, “What have I done?”

She hopes those individuals suffer for a great length of time wrestling with that guilt and says law abiding citizens should not stoop to the criminal’s level and kill; that they should take the high road instead.

She also says several victims’ families support her efforts because of the emotional toll the lengthy and frequent appeals process takes on them.

“Nothing we do will ever bring back their loved one, but they could at least have closure knowing that they person who took their loved one away will spend the rest of their life behind bars.” said Antonio.

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