Trenton man’s death sentence affirmed

Duane Short killed his estranged wife, her friend in 2004.

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed the convictions and death sentence of Duane Short of Trenton, who killed his estranged wife and her friend in July 2004.

The Court’s 7-0 decision was written by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger.

Short, 43, was convicted in the shotgun slayings of Rhonda Short, 31, and Donnie Sweeney, 32.

Sweeney was the friend who helped Rhonda move out of the couple’s home along with two of their three children.

Short admitted at trial that after searching for several days to discover his wife’s whereabouts, he purchased a shotgun and sawed off its barrel, then took it to his wife’s new residence in Huber Heights where he shot and killed her and Sweeney.

A jury convicted Short on all counts in 2006.

During the penalty phase of the trial, Short told Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Katherine Huffman that he did not wish to present any mitigation witnesses or evidence.

The jury recommended a sentence of death.

Short and his attorneys then attempted to present mitigation evidence before the judge sentenced him.

Huffman held that she could consider only the evidence submitted to the jury. She adopted the jury’s recommendation and imposed a sentence of death.

The Supreme Court found that Huffman acted correctly in rejecting the mitigation evidence offered after the second phase was finished.

Lanzinger wrote that Short’s reading of the law was not persuasive.

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