Ohio court hears appeal of killer who stabbed bartender

COLUMBUS (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has heard arguments for and against executing a killer sentenced to die for raping and fatally stabbing a bartender.

A judge in 2012 ordered Joseph Thomas to be put to death for the slaying of Annie McSween in Lake County in 2010.

Prosecutors say Thomas attacked the 49-year-old McSween by her car after she asked him to leave the bar where she worked.

Justices on Tuesday heard arguments from attorneys for the 32-year-old Thomas and the state.

Thomas’ lawyers argue he had poor legal assistance at his trial. Prosecutors say the claim has no merit and should be rejected.

Thomas’ execution is likely years away even if the court upholds the sentence because of federal appeals and ongoing lawsuits over lethal injection drugs.

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