Prosecutor opposes death sentence appeals in 2 Supreme Courts

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell wants appeals of a Clayton man’s death sentence rejected by both the Ohio and U.S. Supreme Court.

Last week, Fornshell urged the Ohio Supreme Court to reject the sentence appeal of Austin Myers, 24, a Northmont man sentenced to death in Warren County for murdering Justin Back, 18, of Warren County.

RELATED: Clayton man’s death penalty appeal taken to U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, Fornshell argued that a writ of certiorari filed by Myers’ lawyers in the U.S. Supreme Court failed to meet standards set by the nation’s highest court.

“This court has already denied certiorari on the same question, and Ohio’s death penalty scheme is constitutional,” Fornshell wrote in his brief in opposition.

RELATED: Prosecutor calls death penalty reopening motion frustrating and frivolous

On Nov. 29, Fornshell said the motion for reopening filed by Elizabeth Orrick, a former state public defender, failed to raise a “genuine issue.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court, Ohio Public Defender Bethany O’Neill claimed that the high court’s ruling in another death penalty case, Hurst v. Florida, “rendered Ohio’s death penalty scheme unconstitutional.”

RELATED: Prosecutor calls death penalty appeal “frivolous”

Myers was convicted in 2014 of murdering Back, a childhood friend. Back was about to join the U.S. Navy.

Myers became the youngest person on Ohio’s Death Row at the time.

RELATED: Co-defendant pleads guilty in teen’s murder

Timothy Mosley, the other Clayton man charged in the case, entered a plea to life in prison without parole and cooperated with prosecutors, including testifying against Myers.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court approved $3,419 in attorney fees for Timothy McKenna, who made oral arguments in the case, and $2,120 to Roger W. Kirk, who assisted McKenna.

No decision has been made on whether to reopen this appeal.

It was unclear when the U.S. Supreme Court would decide whether to consider Myers’ appeal.

Myers is among 7,000 to 8,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari filed during a typical term of the court.

“Cases granted after mid-January are typically carried over until the next term begins the following October, unless the case is expedited by the court,” according to rules of the court.

The Ohio Supreme Court scheduled Myers’ execution for July 20, 2022, but because appeals are still pending, it is not listed among upcoming executions by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

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