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Published: Tuesday, 4/2/2002

Clemency hearing slated for Coleman


COLUMBUS - The Ohio Adult Parole Board has set April 16 for the clemency hearing of convicted serial killer Alton Coleman.

Coleman, who wants his death sentence reduced to life in prison without parole, is scheduled to be executed April 26 at the maximum-security prison in Lucasville. He is on death row in Ohio for the 1984 robbery-murder of Marlene Walters in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood.

Authorities said that in 1984, Coleman and accomplice Debra Brown assaulted and abducted 20 people - and killed at least seven - across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, including the robbery-murder in Toledo of 30-year-old Virginia Temple and her 10-year-old daughter, Rachelle.

The Ohio death sentence of Brown, 39, was commuted to life in prison in 1990, but she faces the death penalty in Indiana.

Coleman wants to attend the April 16 hearing in Columbus to ask the parole board for mercy, said his attorney, Dale Baich, an assistant federal public defender.

Condemned inmates are not allowed to attend the hearings, said Andrea Dean, a spokeswoman for the state prison system. “It's just a policy we have or a rule. Attorneys speak on their behalf,” she said.

Mr. Baich said Raymond Capots, chairman of the 11-member parole board, initially refused a request to delay the hearing - which had been set for April 9 - for one week. Mr. Baich said a person who plans to testify on Coleman's behalf has a court date in another state. He would not identify that person.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Capots contacted Mr. Baich and said the hearing would be rescheduled for April 16.

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