John Kasich has used his magical Governor’s wand to spring one inmate from Ohio’s death row, the Republican’s first use of clemency since taking office in January. From then to now, the state has executed four inmates.
Shawn Hawkins of Cincinnati was scheduled to be executed next week for a 1989 murder involving a drug deal gone bad. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio Parole Board recommended Kasich commute the sentence because of questions swimming around Hawkins’ role in the killings.
"The board is not confident in the death sentence in this case, but is also not convinced that Shawn Hawkins is innocent," the board said in its May 12 ruling. The board said Hawkins was “clearly involved” in the drug deal and the murders, but that aspects of his conviction are “troubling.”
Supporters claim there is no indisputable evidence that Hawkins killed Richard and Marteen after they negotiated a deal to purchase a pound of marijuana for $1,400. Hawkins claimed that he could not reach his supplier and the drug deal never happened.