LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A former truck driver who went on a multistate killing spree has been executed in Ohio for the murder of a Cincinnati-area man who gave him a ride in 1991.
Forty-five-year-old John Fautenberry of Oregon was pronounced dead at 10:37 a.m. Tuesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.
Fautenberry was sentenced to death for the slaying of Joseph Daron Jr., who picked him up while he was hitchhiking on Feb. 17, 1991.
Fautenberry also confessed to killing a four people in three other states — Alaska, Oregon and New Jersey — during a five-month period in late 1990 and early 1991.
Fautenberry is the first inmate executed in Ohio since June 3.
Ohio has put 30 men to death since it reinstated the death penalty in 1999.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A man who confessed to slayings in four states spent his final hours watching television and meeting with a priest as he awaited execution Tuesday for murdering a man who gave him a ride near Cincinnati.
John Fautenberry is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the state prison in Lucasville. Fautenberry, a former Oregon truck driver, was sentenced to death for murdering Joseph Daron Jr., 46, of Milford, in February 1991.
Fautenberry gave up his right to a trial by jury in Cincinnati and pleaded no contest on July 23, 1992, to two counts each of aggravated murder and grand theft and one count of aggravated robbery.
Fautenberry confessed to killing a total of five people in four states — Alaska, Oregon, Ohio and New Jersey — during a five-month period in late 1990 and early 1991.
His attorney, Dennis Sipe, has argued that the state should pay a neuropsychologist to examine Fautenberry, whose last mental exam was 13 years ago. Sipe contends that Fautenberry should not be executed because he has brain damage from a childhood accident and from an injury while serving in the U.S. Navy.
“We make the argument that with a stale psychological survey done in 1996, we thought we needed an updated report to give the clemency process,” Sipe said Monday. “The Supreme Court said a defendant facing the death penalty was entitled to an attorney; that generally is taken to mean that you should be entitled to one that can effectively defend you, and that includes access to experts where needed.”
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Fautenberry’s request to delay his execution about an hour before the injection was to take place.
On Monday afternoon, Fautenberry was subdued, prisons spokeswoman Andrea Carson said. He ate eggs, toast and some of the fried potatoes he requested for his special meal, she said.
“He hasn’t really been engaged in a lot of conversation,” Carson said. “But he has been compliant.”
Fautenberry, 45, was offered several opportunities to phone his sister Monday evening but refused, Carson said. He fell asleep around 11:30 p.m. and slept until he was awakened by prison staff at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
His only visitors were his attorney and a Catholic priest with whom he spent several hours, Carson said.
The Ohio Board of Parole had voted unanimously to recommend that Gov. Ted Strickland deny clemency, which the governor did last week.
The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused Friday to overturn a U.S. district court’s ruling denying a state-paid expert. Sipe immediately asked the district court to reconsider, and Judge James Graham in Columbus, Ohio, again rejected the argument on Saturday. The appeals court affirmed the district court’s decision Monday.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay Tuesday without comment.
Fautenberry was transferred Monday from the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where state officials were preparing for his execution.
His special meal request was two eggs sunny-side up, fried potatoes, two pieces of fried bologna, four pieces of wheat bread, two pieces of wheat toast with butter, four slices of tomato, a side of lettuce and mayonnaise, two Three Musketeers candy bars and two packages of Reese’s peanut butter cups.