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Governor's Statement on Clemency Application of Sidney Cornwell (press release)

Published: Tue, November 16, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.


Sidney Cornwell

Klinefelter syndrome

Gov. Strictland has overturned Sidney Cornwell’s execution based on the fact he has been diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome.

What is Klinefelter syndrome?

A genetic disorder, affecting only males with one or more extra X chromosomes. This can cause males to have physical traits such as breasts or small testicles. It occurs in about 1 out of 1,000 males.

What are the symptoms?

Sparse body hair, enlarged breasts and wide hips. The testicles remain small and in some cases, the penis does not reach adult size. Men with syndrome usually cannot father children. Language and learning problems are also possible. It is usually not diagnosed until the time of puberty.

How is it treated?

Males with Klinefelter syndrome can be given testosterone. If treatment is started around the age of puberty, it can help a boy have more normal body development.

Source: WebMD

Columbus, OH--Governor Ted Strickland today issued the following statement regarding the pending clemency application of Sidney Cornwell:

"As a result of his conviction for aggravated murder, Mr. Sidney Cornwell is scheduled to be executed on November 16, 2010. I have completed a review of the circumstances surrounding his case to determine if executive clemency is warranted.

"In making my determination, my staff and I have reviewed the judicial decisions regarding Mr. Cornwell's conviction, Mr. Cornwell's application for executive clemency and its appendix, and arguments presented for and against clemency at the Parole Board hearing. We also reviewed institutional records and letters received in the Governor's Office regarding this matter, the Parole Board's report and recommendation, and the exhibits presented at the Parole Board hearing.

"There is absolutely no doubt that Mr. Cornwell is guilty of the crime of aggravated murder - and he has admitted that. The only question I am confronted with is whether the death penalty is appropriate in this case given the fact certain mitigating information was not available at the time the sentence was imposed.

"Critical to that evaluation is the fact that in recent months, Mr. Cornwell was definitively diagnosed with a genetic disorder known as Klinefelter's syndrome. This condition, which impacts both the body and the mind of its sufferer, was unknown to the jury and judge responsible for determining Mr. Cornwell's sentence despite significant testimony and argument during Mr. Cornwell's trial regarding certain of his physical characteristics.

"A jury deciding whether to recommend the imposition of the death penalty must unanimously make such a recommendation to the sentencing judge and the sentencing judge must determine that the death penalty is appropriate. If one juror, or the judge, had determined that the death penalty was not appropriate, Mr. Cornwell would instead have been sentenced to life in prison.

"Once aware of the probable Klinefelter's diagnosis, one of three Sixth Circuit judges reviewing the case determined that the death penalty was not an appropriate sentence. After the Klinefelter's diagnosis was confirmed, one of eight parole board members determined that the death penalty was inappropriate in this case. In both instances, Mr. Cornwell's recent diagnosis was referenced as the basis of the dissent.

"In Judge Moore's dissent, she stated, with respect to the question of whether a jury might have reacted differently when it recommended the death penalty had it known about Mr. Cornwell's disorder, that knowledge of such a diagnosis 'would have a reasonable probability of affecting the outcome of the penalty phase...'

"The Parole Board Chair, dissenting from her colleagues' recommendation to deny clemency, cited three basic reasons for her recommendation: having a medical disorder is a strong mitigator and was not presented during the sentencing mitigation phase; a mitigation phase which would have centered on a genetic disorder would have caused the jury to have more sympathy as opposed to one which centered on a person who was portrayed by the prosecution as merely overweight and lazy by nature; and that Klinefelter's syndrome could have reduced Cornwell's overall culpability.

?The fact is, there is a substantial possibility that had the jury or sentencing judge known about Mr. Cornwell's disorder, one or more of them would have found that the death penalty was inappropriate in this case, just as one of the Sixth Circuit judges did and as the Parole Board's Chair did.

"Because the trial jury and sentencing judge did not have information at the time of sentencing about Mr. Cornwell's Klinefelter's syndrome, I have concluded that it would be inappropriate to proceed with the death penalty in this case. There can be no doubt that Mr. Cornwell's conduct still necessitates severe punishment. Accordingly, I have decided to commute his sentence to a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole."


1rockyj555(1 comment)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

it is so sickening, for this to happen, but not unexpected the last idiot to do this was celeste,
where is the justice? a 300lb monster takes the life of a 3 year old little girl, and this is a cause for clemency?
no wonder they have so many murders in the cesspool of america[youngstown]
when the church starts crying for clemency , i wonder how much sympathy they have for the little child?
the city enforcement of the law must be a joke, and for sure the state goverment that would allow this to happen is a cruel spit on the decent people of this state.
strickland you should be governing in hell with the rest of the trash

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2lewkowict16(5 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

This is terrible! Stop just reading the news. Help solving the crimes by studying criminal justice at http://bit.ly/ctecjq

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3bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

it is not for us to understand or agree with, BUT, bare in mind, this man will live with this on his mind every day for the rest of his life, actually executing him, would be easier on him, there is no punishment in that, because it's over. now, he will live with the memory everyday of what he did.honestly,this is more punishment than the other. some of the people on here sound like they are murderers or have a lust for it, the lord will take care of it all.

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4lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

And our dear GOV. has no idea why he lost the election

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5lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

If Sidney was the kind of man to feal bad about what he did than he would not have done it.

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6Reader(126 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

If he has such horrible disorder, why didn't a school flag it when he was younger, a Doctor, family member? Having a genetic disorder does not excuse gang activity or murder. This is a case of premeditated murder, they went to this housing complex with intent to murder. The fact that they killed the wrong person or that a medical disorder may not have been known, does not excuse the crime. The childs family will continue to suffer loss, have questions go unanswered and a child had her innocent life cut short because she was thursty, not because a jury didn't have all the medical diagnosis or records available. It is hard to have faith in the system when things like this happen. I hope that life in prison is much harder on this killer than the death penalty would have been.

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Now that the ball is rolling the next step is for some liberal judge to set Sidney free . A myriad of excuses for his condition and the cure was aborted by Strickland .

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8palbubba(794 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

12 jurors, a judge, 7 out of 8 on the parole board are all wrong, it is only the omnipotent Ted that knows best. He should be starting to understand why he lost the election, dumb decisions, of which this is one of many. The part I hate the worst is that as a state we will still be obligated financially to this killer and his enabler Ted.

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9starofesther(168 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

we are either justified or condemned by our words It is sad what happened to that little girl but my comfort is that she is in Heaven with the Lord God Almighty Another meeting place!

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

The day ! The time ! But alas, how is it that in this era of going organic that the microbes have been deprived of some much needed protein ? Sidney does have billions who would appreciate having him !

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11steelwagon(284 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Clearly this man knew what he was doing when he pulled the trigger.
He was a violent enforcer for a violent street gang.
He was able to plan and hunt down his intended victim and when he couldn't find him he opened fire on innocent people with no regard for anyones' life including a 3 year old child.

Now I will agree with some that there are occasions when the death penalty should be overturned and commuted to life in prison with no chance of parole.
If it can be proven that a person acted without fully understanding what he was doing,certain mental conditions that would disqualify the death penalty ect..

These situations might warrant being overturned.
But not a case of having small balls and tool !!!

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12Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Stickland, I bet if this was your Grandchild, this piece of work would not even get a trail.

Your S.S. style state troopers would have gunned him down and covered it up saying their actions were justified.

That is what would have happened.

Strickland is too much of a sissy, to kill anyone.

He would have his State Highway Patrol do the dirty work.

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13Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

@ sotired you do not know what you are talking about.

Why don't you check facts, instead of spewing partisan politics.

Fact: Governor Stickland and the 128th General Assembly passed School Reform that included 67 UNFUNDED MANDATES including ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN (2011-2012 school year).

All of these UNFUNDED MANDATES were voted on by a mostly Democratic Ohio Legislature, and approved by Governor Ted Strickland (Democrat).

Fact: Governor Stickland and the 128th General Assembly passed the Removal of the Academic Instructional Grant (A.I.G.) from Ohio's colleges. This grant helped people from poor families to pay for tuition.

Fact: Governor Stickland and the 128th General Assembly passed a bill to Unfreeze tuitions at Ohio Colleges. Once this happened tuition increased @ Akron, C.S.U. , Kent, Ohio State and others almost immediately.

So, please check your facts before you talk lies.

You are making comments about something that has not happened yet.

I have proof of what Strickland did. His Record looks like what you are accusing Kasich of before he is in office.

Just ask ANY School District about the UNFUNDED MANDATES that Stickland and the 128th General Assembly dumped on them.

ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN will cost Parma Schools over One Million Dollars to implement. Since Ohio will not pay one cent for this Mandate, it must be paid for by cutting something else, help to students, teachers, programs. And what kills me most is that NO additional curriculum will be covered on the all day format. Just more Nap and Play time.

So, all of Ohio's School Children suffer, so Kindergarten Parents can have Free ALL DAY Daycare?

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14bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago


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