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Biros’ stay of execution angers victim’s brother

Published: Wed, October 21, 2009 @ 12:06 a.m.

It’s the second time in 19 months that the execution has been delayed.


GIRARD — Tom Heiss, brother of a Masury woman murdered in 1991 by Kenneth Biros, says his family finds it unbelievable that a judge is so concerned that Biros might endure a little suffering during his execution.

“He [Biros] is worried about a pinch in his arms, and he stabbed and cut parts of my sister off 91 times,” Heiss, of Girard, said Tuesday.

“My sister did not have the opportunity to say ‘stop.’ This [Biros’ execution by lethal injection] is cruel? What he did — was that humane? He deserves whatever he has coming to him. If it takes 91 times to find a vein, then take 91 times. If they can’t find a vein, then cut his head off.”

The coroner who performed the autopsy on Engstrom’s body said she had suffered 91 injuries before her death, all of them part of a “severe beating.”

On Monday, Judge Gregory Frost in Cincinnati indefinitely delayed the execution of Biros, 51, until the judge is satisfied that the state’s method of execution, legal injection, will work correctly.

Biros, formerly of Brookfield, was scheduled to die Dec. 8, but the botched execution of Romell Broom in September has led to a new moratorium on executions. So far, Judge Frost has put an indefinite hold on two executions, including that of Broom; and Gov. Ted Strickland has halted two other executions.

The delays occurred after prison officials in Lucasville tried unsuccessfully for two hours to insert a needle into Broom’s arm and administer the lethal drugs.

Biros’ execution was scheduled and delayed once before — in March 2007 — when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped his execution as part of a federal case challenging Ohio’s lethal-injection protocol.

Heiss said he hopes to find a way for him, his sister, Debi Heiss, and his mother, MaryJane Heiss, to talk to Strickland when he comes to the Mahoning Valley in early November so that they can make their feelings known.

“This is ridiculous,” Tom Heiss said. “It’s almost 20 years now, and every time we get to this point, it gets thrown back in our face, and it hurts, man.”

“Our family is the one going through the life sentence. There are a lot of people in this community who are [angry],” he said, noting that he received numerous phone calls Monday night when the news of the delay was announced.

The state is considering ways to adjust its death-chamber procedure. A spokeswoman for the governor said a review of execution procedures continued.

A spokeswoman for Richard Cordray, the attorney general, said the state was reviewing its legal options. The state had expected to have new procedures in place in time to execute Biros on Dec. 8.

Among the changes the state is considering is injecting lethal drugs into inmates’ bone marrow or muscles as an alternative to — or a backup for — the traditional intravenous execution procedure. Broom complained in an affidavit after the execution attempt that execution staff painfully hit muscle and bone at times during up to 18 attempts to reach a vein.

Broom was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a 14-year-old girl in 1984.


1nanaj1(15 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

They need to get this over with........Tami's family has been through enough .......

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2jmpt37(43 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

oh so leathal injection is cruel and unusuall! what about cutting up a innocent girl and spreading her body parts across two states. is that human mr biros? you worthless piece of crap, leathal injection is much more than you deserve someone should do the same thing to you that you did to that poor girl.

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3queenie(12 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

I think this judge needs to take this piece of crap home and let him live with him and his family. There are numerous ways to start an iv, do a central line or put it in his foot or get a paramedic to start one. These are just excuses that are being used to keep a worthless piece of dirt alive for the taxpayers to support. I don't think there are any questions about his guilt so let's get the job done and let the family get on with their lives.

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4TaxpayerForGoodPolicy(6 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

My heart goes out to the Heiss family. What a nightmare.

This seems like another example of how the death penalty fails victims' family members. We could have dealty with Biros years ago by locking him up and throwing away the key.

Instead, we're about to put this poor family through hell again. We're making victims out of these poor families who have suffered enough. I wish we would get smarter and see the death penalty is an expensive hoax. And we should do away with it once and for all. Who does it serve?

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5angeldust(1 comment)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

This is Debi Heiss, Tami Engstrom's sister. First and foremost, I would like to thank you all for your continued concern and support, after a long, exhausting 20 years. The only thing my family is asking is for people to contact Governor Strickland and ask him to please set this "back-up" second protocol for the death row inmates., in a timely fasion so that Kenneth Biros can still be executed on December 8th, as scheduled. I find e-mail to be easiest but here is the physical address if anyone chooses to write or e-mail his office.You can say anything you want to.

Governor Strickland
77 South High Street
30th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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