Clemency is denied; Charles Lorraine to die Jan. 18

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By Marc Kovac


Gov. John Kasich has denied clemency for Charles Lorraine, the Trumbull County man sentenced to death for the brutal knifing murder of an elderly couple more than 25 years ago.

He is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection next Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Pending any last-minute legal challenge or other unforeseen issue, he would be the first death-row inmate put to death in 2012.

Kasich’s decision is in line with the unanimous recommendation of the state parole board, which last month concluded that there was no question of Lorraine’s guilt in the murders, that he received a fair trial, that his five brothers and sisters have managed “relatively crime-free lives” despite their difficult childhoods and that he was not mentally retarded, as was argued as part of an earlier appeal.

“This was a brutal slaying of two vulnerable victims in their own home,” the board wrote. “A sentence short of the jury’s finding of death and the court’s imposed death sentence would demean the seriousness of this offense.”

Lorraine received the death penalty for the May 1986 knifing deaths of Raymond and Doris Montgomery, the latter confined to a bed at the time. Lorraine stabbed both multiple times before ransacking their Warren home and using the money and personal items he stole to buy drinks for friends at a bar.

Public defenders have argued that Lorraine displays evidence of a traumatic brain injury that has affected his thinking abilities and judgment. They also say his original legal counsel provided an inept defense that led to the death penalty over a lengthy prison sentence.

But prosecutors called Lorraine a con artist with a long history of anti-social and criminal behavior who has lied and exaggerated to avoid the death penalty.

“This is certainly an offense — I should say offenses — by a career criminal against helpless senior citizens in such a brutal manner without conscience,” said Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins. “In fact, he celebrated their deaths by buying drinks. This truly is one of the worst of the worst.”

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