ABC Recording Trial, Jury In Ohio Murder Case


Mark Ducic entertained audiences with braggadocio and tall tales, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Soon, the nation will be able to watch a dozen people decide just how big a liar the 52-year-old career criminal is. Ducic went on trial yesterday in Cleveland, accused of being a serial killer who bragged to a friend about killing a girlfriend and a buddy with a deadly drug concoction that Ducic called a “hot shot.”

The potential death-penalty case will have elements of a sensational trial – drugs, murder-for-hire, jailhouse snitching. It also will offer a television audience a vantage rarely seen: what goes on in jury deliberations. The bizarre trial will become an episode of ABC News’ “State v.,” a series of courtroom documentaries scheduled to air this year. Cameras will record everything, including jurors as they deliberate in their heretofore-sacrosanct chamber.

Ducic’s lawyers, Cuyahoga County prosecutors and judges and the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to grant producers the behind-the-scenes look at criminal justice in the hope it will cast positive light on the trial-by-jury process. Ducic’s is one of six cases in three states ABC is chronicling. The installments will air only after each defendant is tried and, if convicted, after sentencing.

Michael Bicks, ABC producer for the series, said his focus is on the process. But viewers most likely will find the circumstances of Ducic’s trial quite compelling. Authorities initially classified the deaths of Barbara Davis in 2001 and Donald Ehrke in 2003 as accidental overdoses by chronic drug abusers. Prosecutors reopened the cases last summer after learning Ducic boasted of killing the two to keep them from divulging secrets that could have put him back in prison. Ducic has been in and out of prison since 1977 for drug charges, breaking and entering, theft, extortion, assault, gross sexual imposition, and attempted escape. Ducic’s lawyers say that they will portray him as an insecure weakling who lied to impress underworld associates and that every boast is suspect – especially tales of murder.


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