Supreme Court affirms Donna Roberts' death penalty sentence

COLUMBUS — In a decision announced this morning in a 2001 Trumbull County murder case, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the death penalty sentence of Donna Roberts, who conspired with Nathaniel Jackson to kill her ex-husband, Robert Fingerhut, with whom she had been living.

Writing for the court majority, Justice Terrence O’Donnell explained that Roberts helped Jackson plan Fingerhut’s murder in a series of letters and phone calls while Jackson was in prison on an unrelated charge, and she actively participated with Jackson in the killing by purchasing a mask and gloves for him and allowing him into the home, evidencing prior calculation and design.

Justices Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French, Patrick F. Fischer and R. Patrick DeWine, joined Justice O’Donnell’s opinion. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor concurred in judgment only. Justice William M. O’Neill concurred in part and dissented in part, citing his view that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Roberts is the only woman on Ohio’s death row.

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