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State executes man who killed wife



Published: Fri, July 14, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Barton is the third person the state has executed this year.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- Convicted killer Rocky Barton went to his death, expressing sorrow for taking the life of his wife, Kimbirli Jo, in 2003.

Looking at his victim's family, Barton's voice cracked.

"I'm sorry for what I done," Barton, 49, said at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near here, just before he was executed Wednesday by lethal injection.

"I'm not asking you to forgive me," Barton said, looking at two of Kimbirli's daughters and her son, who witnessed the execution, "because it was hard enough to forgive myself."

Looking at his mother and father, Wilma and Donald Barton, and his uncle, Larry Barton, Rocky Barton said, "I love you. I love you all."

Then Barton said, "Let's do it."

Clad in a white T-shirt and blue pants, he looked up and became still.

Prison officials injected three drugs into Barton -- Sodium Pentothal, which puts the condemned to sleep; Pancuronium Bromide, which stops the breathing; and Potassium Chloride, which stops the heart.

Warden Edwin C. Voorhies Jr. pronounced Barton dead at 10:27 a.m. Barton became the 22nd person executed in Ohio since the state resumed the death penalty in 1999 and the third person executed by the state this year.

Convicted

Barton was convicted in Warren County Common Pleas Court of killing Kimbirli Jo in 2003, reportedly after she informed him that she was leaving him.

Barton shot and killed his wife with a shotgun at close range, authorities said.

He was convicted of one count of aggravated murder and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon, and was sentenced to death.

"This is closure for our family," said Jamie Reising, 21, Kimbirli's daughter who witnessed the execution. "I've started to forgive him."

In a statement distributed to reporters, Barton's father criticized the Warren County prosecutor, saying the prosecutor "has spent, approaching three years, beating her chest and directing her comments on Rocky to the media. Her campaign literature boasts of his conviction."

"He was convicted by a jury of his peers," Rachel Hutzel, Warren County prosecutor, said of Barton.

Barton has said he deserved to die for killing his wife. He also had waived legal appeals.

Ortega was a media pool witness to Barton's execution.




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