Execution set for Tuesday

By Marc Kovac



Death-row inmate Sidney Cornwell will be moved to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility early Monday in advance of his scheduled execution.

And barring last-minute intervention by Gov. Ted Strickland, Cornwell will be put to death by lethal injection Tuesday, becoming the ninth inmate executed in Ohio this year — the most since the state restarted capital punishment in the late 1990s.

Cornwell was convicted of killing 3-year-old Jessica Ballew in an early-morning gang-related shooting in June 1996.

According to court documents, he and others drove up to an apartment on Oak Park Lane with the intention of shooting a rival, in retaliation for an earlier incident between neighborhood gangs. After learning that the intended victim was not at the residence, Cornwell opened fire, killing Jessica and injuring three adults.

The state parole board, in a 7-1 decision, has recommended against clemency in the case. Strickland has not issued a decision on whether to grant clemency or allow the execution to take place.

Julie Walburn, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said prisons officials will transfer Cornwell from the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown to the Death House at the Lucasville prison Monday, where he will spend most of the remainder of his time before his lethal injection.

He will be allowed to make a special meal request, to be eaten that evening. And he will have contact visits with friends and family.

Only his attorney, public defender Rob Lowe, is scheduled to witness the execution on Cornwell’s behalf.

Jessica’s father, aunt and uncle also plan to witness the execution.

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