The Hamilton County jury that convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland, 41, of his fourth and fifth murders last week recommended the death penalty, after three and a half hours of deliberation.
The 41-year-old Kirkland pleaded guilty at the trial’s start to murdering Mary Jo Newton – 45, and 25-year-old Kimya Rolinson, whose badly decomposed remains were discovered in June 2008 – about 18 months after her death – in North Fairmount. Those tow murders did not carry possible death sentences but he received ultimate punishment in the deaths of two teen girls, Casonya “Sharee” Crawford, 14, and Esme Kenney, 13. He was convicted of their murders along with several other charges, including gross abuse of a corpse and attempted rape, that were used as aggravating circumstances by prosecutors as cause for the death penalty. “I don’t know how to handle a lot of stress,” Kirkland tearfully told the detective. “I’m not into drama. I don’t know how to – I lash out. It gets to the point where it’s overbearing.
Kirkland told the detective that he gave Crawford (his 14 years old victim) $60, but the teen became angry when he asked for sex and threw the money at him and called him names. “When she got mad, I got mad,” Kirkland told the detective. He chased her down a hillside to Victory Parkway, Kirkland admitted, where he strangled her. He then carried her body to a vacant lot on Blair Court, where he used lighter fluid to burn her remains. Kirkland also admitted using a rag and his hands to strangle 13-year-old Esme Kenney to death after sexually assaulting her in March of 2009. He said used the rag because his hands hurt from being out in the cold. He said he choked the girl with his hands, but couldn’t grab well enough and pulled a blue rag from his back pocket. “She was still living and gasping,” he said. “I was behind her. She was on her stomach.”
Kirkland stared straight ahead as he heard the words “death penalty” and said nothing as he left the courtroom headed to the Justice Center to await the actual sentencing on Wednesday, March 31 at 9 a.m. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said it was the right decision. “I think I’ve prosecuted four serial killers and there is a particular horrible type of evilness about this defendant,” Deters said. “I think it’s because the victims he preyed on were either drug-addicted, helpless women or they were little girls.”
“Some people might think (the jury) did this because of the horrendous crimes and the emotions involved in it,” said the elected jury’s foreman, “But the verdict that we reached was based on the facts and the law.”
Judge Kubicki will issue his sentence on March 31. If he accepts the jury’s recommendation and Kirkland is sentenced to death, the appeals process will likely prevent the lethal injection from taking place anywhere from 12 to 20 years. There are currently 161 inmates on Ohio’s death row with 33 sentenced from Hamilton County. Kirkland would become the 34th.
-articles from various news sources adapted by admin-