Former public defender pursues Clayton man’s death penalty appeal

A former Ohio public defender wants to try to persuade the Ohio Supreme Court to reopen the death penalty appeal of a Clayton man.

Elizabeth Arrick, a lawyer based in Kentucky, filed a motion today to represent Austin Myers, 23, formerly of Clayton, and sentenced to die for the murder of Justin Back, 18, of Waynesville.

Myers was sentenced to death on Oct. 16, 2014, for Back’s murder during a robbery. Another Clayton man, Timothy Mosley, actually stabbed Back to death. Myers and Mosley both were 19 years old then.

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Myers was 19, the youngest on Ohio’s death row, when he was sentenced to death in 2014 in warren County.

The state’s high court has rejected previous appeals of the sentence.

Arrick declined to comment on her decision to file to represent the indigent Myers and motion for the court to reopen the case.

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In the motion she claims the court needs to decide whether Myers was well represented in his appeal.

“In addition, the appointment of counsel for the Application to Reopen is currently contingent upon this Court determining that ‘there is a genuine issue as to whether the applicant was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel on appeal,’” Arrick said in the motion.

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Myers was represented by appointed counsel during the trial and appeals.

“There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has,” Arrick added.

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“To ensure adequate appellate review of his conviction and sentence, counsel for Appellant Austin Gregory Myers requests that this Court issue an order appointing counsel for the preparation and filing of his application for reopening.”

Arrick worked in the Office of the Ohio Public Defender in Columbus, as the Assistant State Public Defender, Death Penalty Department from 2013 to 2017, according her biography.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell could not be immediately reached for comment.

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