Why Ohio Death Penalty Case Lingers In Its 18 Year


The Columbus Dispatch explores why the case of Maurice Mason, sentenced to death for killing pregnant Robin Dennis, 19, more than 18 years ago, still is in court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in 2008 that in the penalty phase of his trial, his attorneys didn’t say enough about Mason’s awful childhood – one filled with violence and fueled by instability, alcohol, and drugs. If the judge and jury had known, perhaps they wouldn’t have sentenced him to death, the court ruled. The court ordered a resentencing that is yet to happen.

Although Mason had exhausted his routine appeals, the lingering issues could delay his resentencing into 2012. Kort Gatterdam, one of his attorneys said, “When you talk about such severe punishment as the death penalty or a life sentence, everything should be looked at more closely.”

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