Panel wants contact rights for death row inmates

Sunday, January 20, 2008

YOUNGSTOWN — Families of death row inmates should be allowed physical contact with the prisoners in the form of hugs and hand holding, according to human rights advocacy groups.

“They need to feel and be around their families. Who knows? You may not get that chance again to see or hug your child or kiss your child again,” said Marquita Dennis of Akron.

Dennis said the only time she was afforded that opportunity was the day before her son’s execution. “Stick by your loved one, whoever it is, in prison,” Dennis urged members of prisoners’ families.

Dennis’ son, Adremy Dennis, 28, was executed by injection Oct. 13, 2004, at Lucasville, after being on death row for 10 years for the 1994 slaying of Kurt Kyle, 29, a race car driver, in Akron.

Kyle, a 1983 Columbiana High School graduate and a 1987 Youngstown State University graduate, was slain with a sawed-off shotgun in a robbery that netted $15.

Dennis, whose son was 18 when he committed the murder, said she believes her son’s execution was the cause of her suffering two heart attacks, two strokes and two brain surgeries.

The Cleveland Lucasville Five Defense Committee had a news conference today at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, followed by a rally at the Ohio State Penitentiary on Coitsville-Hubbard Road, which houses about 145 of Ohio’s death row prisoners.

The committee takes its name from five prisoners who went to death row after the 1993 prison riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville.

For the complete story, see Sunday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com.