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Published: Monday, 3/19/2007

Court rules to stop Ohio execution of Biros; state appeals


CINCINNATI (AP) The day before an execution, a federal appeals court ruled today to block that state from putting to death a man who killed a woman, cut her up and scattered her remains across two states.

Ohio prison workers still prepared for the execution of Kenneth Biros, 48, because the state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a ruling to allow the lethal injection.

Biros was moved today to Ohio s death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, and prison workers will be ready to carry out the execution as scheduled Tuesday morning unless the Supreme Court stops it, prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean said.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Cincinnati refused the state s request to lift a lower court s order against the execution, saying Biros should be able to continue appealing a lawsuit with other inmates arguing that Ohio s method of lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

Biros lawyer, Timothy Sweeney, said if the U.S. Supreme Court allows the execution, Biros still has an appeal before the 6th Circuit that claims he was not convicted of an offense that merits the death penalty.

Other executions have been delayed in the past year because of the lethal injection lawsuit. However, former cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren was executed Oct. 24 despite his appeal.

The execution would be the first under Gov. Ted Strickland, who denied clemency on Friday.

Biros acknowledged he killed Tami Engstrom, 22, but said it was done during a drunken rage.

They met after work in 1991 at a tavern in Masury in northeast Ohio. Police believed she fled his advances, perhaps ran from his car and fell or was struck or was strangled when Biros tried to quiet her.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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