Judge Joan Synenberg in Cleveland became the first local jurist in three decades to reject a jury’s death penalty recommendation when she sent the man who killed three people at a barbershop to prison for life, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Synenberg said evidence of the 21-year-old Douglas Shine Jr.’s “transient, non-nurturing and violent childhood,” which was filled with abuse and undiagnosed and untreated mental disorders that left Shine with the emotional maturity of a 5-year-old, outweighed the aggravating circumstances of the 2015 triple killing and the subsequent plot to murder a witness in the shooting.
Instead of taking the jury’s recommendation, Synenberg sentenced Shine to four life in prison sentences, plus an additional 380 years. The last time a Cuyahoga County judge rejected a jury’s recommendation, the prosecutor’s office said, was in 1987, when then- Judge Frank Gorman sentenced Antonio Wright to life in prison with parole after 30 years for a deadly home-invasion. Wright and another broke into a home at random and robbed the couple. When the homeowner, Grover Lang, charged at Wright, Wright shot Lang in the chest and killed him.