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Death Mute

Christopher Worman would love for the state to kill him, but his own lawyers have tuned him out.


Poor Christopher Worman. Unlike the ingrates on Death Row, who refuse the state's most hospitable offer to whack them, he wants to die. He just can't get Ohio to kill him.

In September, Worman was set to go on trial for the slaying of Mary Davis, his mate of 19 years. According to Cleveland's Finest, on June 16, 2000, Worman stabbed Davis 99 times. It would seem an act worthy of a state coupon for a complimentary lethal injection.

So, though he had pleaded innocent, Worman headed into trial offering to plead guilty -- if the state guaranteed it would execute him. On more than one occasion, Worman shouted, "Just kill me" during pretrial hearings, says Judge Daniel Gaul.

Sorry, Christopher, no can do. Ohio doesn't allow anyone to plead his sentence up to death. If one is found guilty of murder, the death penalty decision rests with the jury. In the rare case where someone pleads guilty to capital murder, the call goes to a three-judge panel. Either way, Gaul could not assure Worman that he would be smoked.

"Here's a guy who wants to be executed," says the judge. "He's angry we won't do it . . . He does not want to spend the rest of his life in prison. He does not want to 'get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and hate what I see.'"

Of course, it's difficult to gauge Worman's mental state, seeing as he stabbed his girlfriend with five different knives and has been something of a problem defendant. At one hearing, he told the judge, "There won't be any trial. I'm going to fucking kill myself," says Gaul. He also launched a hunger strike while in a psych ward, because they wouldn't let him see his family. Later, Worman was found eating ribs and drinking milk.

So while he was trying to plead up to murder, his lawyers were attempting to plead down. "We're begging for a plea bargain from the state," says attorney John Gibbons. "They want life without parole. We're willing to do 30-to-life."

Minutes before his trial was to commence, Worman gave in and pleaded guilty in exchange for life without parole. It now appears the fleshy defendant will have plenty of time to work out the mechanics of his hunger strike.

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