A brief look at the history of capital punishment in Ohio:
1803-1885: Executions are carried out as public hangings in the counties where the crimes were committed.
1885: Executions are moved to the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus.
1897: Electric chair replaces the gallows and a 17-year-old boy is the first prisoner to be electrocuted.
March 15, 1963: The electric chair is used for the last time when Donald Reinbolt, 29, is put to death. The electric chair was used to put 315 people to death.
1972: U.S. Supreme Court declares the death penalty is unconstitutional, reducing the death sentences for 65 inmates to life in prison. Death row is moved to Lucasville.
1974: Ohio lawmakers revise the state death penalty law but it is rejected four years later by the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, 120 condemned prisoners’ sentences are commuted to life in prison.
Oct. 19, 1981: Current death penalty statute takes effect
January 1991: Days before leaving office, Gov. Richard Celeste commutes the death sentences for eight inmates to life in prison
1993: Gov. George Voinovich signs a bill into law giving condemned prisoners a choice between electrocution and lethal injection, with the default method being lethal injection.
Feb. 19, 1999: inmate Wilford Berry becomes the first inmate to be executed in Ohio since 1963. He voluntarily waived all of his appeals and opted for lethal injection.
Nov. 15, 2001: Gov. Bob Taft signs a law that eliminated the electric chair as a form of execution.
Feb. 26, 2002: Ohio’s electric chair – “Old Sparky” – is retired and later donated to the Ohio Historical Society.
June 26, 2003: Taft commutes the sentence of Jerome Campbell to life in prison without parole.
October 2005: Death row is moved from Mansfield to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.
Jan 9, 2008: Gov. Ted Strickland commutes John Spirko’s death sentence to life in prison without parole.
Feb. 12, 2009: Strickland commutes the sentence of inmate Jeffrey Hill to life with parole eligibility after 25 years.
Nov. 30, 2009: Ohio becomes the first state to adopt a one-drug protocol for lethal injections.
June 4, 2010: Ted Strickland commutes Richard Nields’ sentence to life without parole.
Sept. 2, 2010: Strickland commutes Kevin Keith’s sentence to life without parole.
Nov. 15, 2010: Strickland commutes Sidney Cornwell’s sentence to life without parole.
May 2011: Gov. John Kasich commutes Shawn Hawkins’ sentence to life without parole.
Sept. 26, 2011: Kasich commutes Joseph Murphy’s sentence to life without parole.
January 2012: Death row is moved to Chillicothe Correctional Institution.
June 10, 2012: Kasich commutes John Eley’s sentence to life without parole.
Dec. 17, 2012: Kasich commutes Ron Post’s sentence to life without parole.
To date, Ohio has executed a total of 391 convicted murderers.
Source: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Timeline of Capital Punishment in Ohio:
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