Execution date requested for Youngstown killer of 3-year-old



inline tease photo

Sidney Cornwell

COLUMBUS — Prosecutors have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to set an execution date for a Youngstown man convicted in the 1996 gang-related killing a 3-year-old Youngstown girl.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains and Assistant Prosecutor Ralph Rivera filed paperwork last month in the case against Sidney Cornwell, who has been on death row since May 1997.

According to documents, Cornwell and other members of a neighborhood gang drove up to an apartment on Oak Park Lane intending to shoot a rival gang member in retaliation for an earlier incident.

After learning that the intended victim was not at the residence, Cornwell opened fire, killing a young girl, Jessica Ballew, and wounding three adults, court documents say.

Prosecutors noted that Cornwell has exhausted all state and federal appeals. They asked for a death warrant setting an execution date “without further delay.”

They added, “The family of Jessica Lynn Ballew and the citizens of Mahoning County await justice. They are surely entitled to closure.”

Public defenders have not yet filed a response.

The next Valley person scheduled for execution is Roderick Davie, who killed three people in Warren in 1991. Davie is scheduled for lethal injection Aug. 10 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.