By Shelley Terry
ASHTABULA, Ohio – Exactly 25 years ago, to the day that Odraye Jones shot and killed Ashtabula Police Officer William D. Glover Jr., the Ohio State Attorney’s Office granted Jones’ request for a new hearing.
Jones, now 46, had his death sentence overturned by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit last August. A panel of three judges ruled that Jones’ sentence in the penalty phase of his trial was tainted with racism.
Jones, who was found guilty of point-blank shooting of Glover on November 17, 1997, now has hopes of spending the rest of his life in prison without fear of execution.
Glover’s widow, Marianne Glover Waldman, who now lives in Canada, said the message arrived on her phone via voicemail on Thursday.
“The 25th anniversary of the worst day of my life and the lives of my children,” she said. “It is not fair. Odraye Jones ruined my life and it’s not fair that he has to spend his life in prison.”
The new sentencing hearing will be held in Ashtabula County, and prosecutors have 180 days to request a new sentencing hearing, according to the attorney general’s office.
“So it’s up to the DA to do her job,” Waldman said. “I’ll be there when the verdict is pronounced.”
According to Ashtabula County Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole, Charles L. Wille, felonies coordinator for the Ohio Attorney’s Office, requested the new hearing rather than appeal the court’s decision.
In reviewing the original trial and Jones’ conviction, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit noted the testimony of a clinical psychologist who diagnosed Jones with antisocial personality disorder and then testified that black men with the disorder would commit more murders. He said about one in four “African American urban men” has the disorder, and the only treatment for them is “to throw them out, to lock them up,” according to Judge Richard Allen Griffin, one of three on the panel.
After hearing this testimony, the Ashtabula District Jury recommended the death penalty.
The court accepted the recommendation and sentenced Jones to death. Since then he has been locked up on death row.
Griffin argued that Jones’ attorneys should have challenged the racist theory and failed to adequately represent their client’s best interests by not doing so, and “Jones is entitled to a new conviction.”
The judges upheld the verdict that Jones murdered Glover in Ashtabula on November 17, 1997 and shot him with hollow point bullets. The wounds [were] up to his head and the area just below his right eye. He also sustained a gunshot wound to his right shoulder. The gunshot wound to Officer Glover’s head and the wound to his face were both fired from less than a foot away,” the court documents said.
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