Convicted murderer at death house for execution Wednesday

Convicted murderer at death house for execution Wednesday

COLUMBUS — Condemned Portage County murderer Mark Wiles arrived at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility this morning in advance of his scheduled execution Wednesday.

State prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Wiles was respectful and compliant with staff after being transported from the state’s Death Row in Chillicothe to the Death House in Lucasville, where he will spend his final day, pending last-minute court intervention.

Wiles requested a special meal, to be served later in the day, of a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, hot sauce packets, Cheetos, salad with ranch dressing, strawberries, vanilla wafers, cheesecake and Sprite.

He will be allowed contact visits with friends and family members in the later afternoon and early evening. Potential visitors include two sisters and brothers-in-law, a couple of nephews, a niece and a friend. Wiles’ three public defenders are listed among those to witness his execution Wednesday.

Wiles was sentenced to death for the murder of Rootstown teen Mark Klima, a straight-A student who caught him in the act of burglarizing his family’s home more than 25 years ago.

Wiles stabbed the teen repeatedly, stole money and fled the state. He later turned himself into police in Savannah, Ga., signed a confession and returned to Ohio.

Legal counsel hoped to convince the state parole board and Gov. John Kasich to reduce Wiles’ sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, based on the inmate’s admission of guilt, his remorse over the killing and his good behavior while in prison. A group of more than 230 faith leaders also sent letters to Kasich seeking mercy.

But prosecutors have countered that Wiles didn’t take responsibility for the crime at the time, initially denying involvement and then attempting to blame the teen for pulling a knife. They also said justice is long overdue in the case.

Wiles was uncooperative during the clemency process; the state parole board unanimously recommended against a sentence commutation. Kasich sided with the latter and rejected clemency last week.

The murdered teen’s cousin is the lone representative of the victim’s family scheduled to witness Wiles’ execution.

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