Family of slain girl angry at Strickland for sparing life of her killer

GIRARD — The father, aunt and uncle of 3-year-old Jessica Ballew expressed outrage at Gov. Ted Strickland’s decision to grant clemency to her killer.

“He got away with murder,” Jessica’s aunt, Connie Ressler of Girard, said of Sidney Cornwell.

Ressler and Jessica’s father, Virgil Ballew of Girard, said they believe the governor would not have granted clemency if it was not for his political lame-duck status.

“Now, he has nobody to answer to,” Ballew said today.

“We can’t believe that he would stoop to that level and give clemency to someone who’s a baby-killer. I mean we’re outraged over it. It’s unbelievable that he took her death so lightly,” Ressler added.

“There is a higher justice than Ted Strickland,” Ressler said, with her brother, Virgil, concurring.

Jessica was shot to death June 11, 1996, on the city’s North Side. Cornwell was sentenced to die by execution after a 1997 trial, but the governor granted him clemency. Cornwell will spend the rest of his life in prison.

For the complete story, read Tuesday's Vindicator and

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