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COLUMBUS Defense attorneys oppose motion for execution date



Published: Mon, April 28, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



A convicted killer is not mentally retarded, the Trumbull County prosecutor says.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

COLUMBUS -- A prosecutor's attempts to set an execution date for a man convicted of killing an elderly Warren couple in 1986 is premature, defense attorneys say.

Attys. Marc S. Triplett and Luigia Tenuta filed a motion in the state Supreme Court opposing Prosecutor Dennis Watkins' motion to set an execution date for Charles Lorraine.

Watkins asked for the date to be set since the U.S. Supreme Court on April 3 declined to hear Lorraine's appeal.

Defense's contention

The motion filed by Lorraine's attorneys says their client still has time to file a motion seeking to be removed from death row because of mental retardation. The motion further states that Lorraine is mentally retarded.

"I think it's incredible that this motion is stating that he is mentally retarded when Mr. Lorraine's own witnesses at trial said he was not mentally retarded," Watkins said, noting that Lorraine's IQ is between 73 and 85.

Most states classify retardation at 70 or below.

"Just when justice is about to happen, they pull a rabbit out of the magician's hat," Watkins said. "He does not qualify as mentally retarded."

Lorraine was convicted in November 1986 in the deaths of Raymond Montgomery, 77, and his wife, Doris, 80, in their home on Haymaker Avenue Northwest. The same jury recommended the death penalty.

Lorraine was almost taken off death row. In March 2001, Judge David D. Dowd Jr. of U.S. District Court in Akron ordered that Lorraine be resentenced.

His reason

In his 95-page ruling, Judge Dowd wrote that he reversed the sentence because "the death sentence very likely resulted from the cumulative effect of defense counsel's ineffectiveness and the prosecution's misconduct" during the trial's mitigation phase.

It is during the mitigation phase that jurors are asked to determine if the defendant should receive the death penalty.

Judge Dowd said in his ruling that Michael Gleospen and Scott Kenney of the Ohio Public Defenders Commission were ineffective in the mitigation and sentencing phases of the trial. The judge also stated that the prosecutor failed to reveal the identity of one of its rebuttal witnesses, a psychiatrist.

The matter was appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Judge Dowd's ruling was reversed.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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