Viney was raised with four brothers and two sisters in Springfield, and attended South High School, said his sister Kim Salah of Dayton.
Although Viney had been in poor health, his living conditions likely contributed to her brother contracting the virus, Salah said.
“I asked him about it the last time I emailed him. He was in a dorm setting,” Salah said. “So there are germs all around anyway. Every time somebody would get a cold it would be serious for him because of the condition he was in.”
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Salah said her brother had been sick for about a year and on oxygen for a collapsed lung.
Viney, who was in the end stage of a chronic illness, died at the prison Saturday, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He received a test for coronavirus on Friday, and the testwas positive, a spokeswoman said.
Viney pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the April 19, 1972 shooting death of Thomas Thornton, then a 26-year-old employee of the D&D Carryout on Selma Road in Springfield, according to a Dayton Daily News story.
Another man was with Viney during the robbery attempt and was also charged. But Viney, 18 at the time, was the one who shot Thornton in the chest about 1 p.m., and he died later that Sunday, according to newspaper reports.
Celeste commuted Viney’s life sentence on the recommendation of a parole board in 1985.
At the time Celeste commuted Viney’s sentence, a prison spokesperson said Viney had a substance use disorder when he entered prison but had been rehabilitated and was a model prisoner who assisted other inmates with drug problems, according to a 1985 report in the Dayton Journal Herald. The paper also reported Viney had attended classes at Marion Technical College and graduated summa cum laude in business.
But Viney wasn’t released until February of 1987, according to a story in the Chillicothe Gazette published in 1991 when Viney was sentenced for the 1990 stabbings of two men during a fight in an alley in that city.
Steve Schumaker, the Clark County prosecutor in 1991, told the Gazette he was puzzled by Viney’s release but said a letter-writing campaign and protests by the Springfield community, and the victim’s family probably kept Viney from getting released sooner.
Salah recalled her brother having a problem with drugs, but also being a good athlete.
Newspaper reports show Viney was a top area wrestler at Springfield South, earning a third-team slot at the 145-pound weight classification on the 1971 Daily News All-Miami Valley Wrestling Squad, according to the newspaper.
“He was a good person at heart,” Salah said.