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Published: Saturday, 10/11/2008

Lawyers for killer to ask Strickland for stay of execution


COLUMBUS Lawyers for twice-convicted murderer Gregory Bryant Bey will urge Gov. Ted Strickland next week to stay the hand of Ohio's executioner, arguing that the Toledo native's 'life is worth sparing."

The state, however, plans to paint a picture of a killer of two downtown Toledo merchants in 1992 who has a long history of violence and should be forced to keep his Nov. 19 date with Ohio's lethal injection gurney.

'Gregory did not have a mother to love and nurture him or a father to provide support and guidance during the critical formative years of his life," reads Bryant Bey's clemency petition submitted by the Ohio Public Defender's office.

'Instead, he was abandoned by his mother to a brutal caretaker who was the antithesis of a loving parent," it reads.

'Gregory had no chance for a normal life due to factors beyond his control. He warrants understanding, and he deserves mercy."

Bryant Bey, 53, will not be present when his lawyers make his case before the nine-member Ohio Parole Board Thursday in Columbus, and he has declined to participate in a pre-hearing interview with a board member. The board will make a recommendation to the governor as to whether it believes Bryant Bey warrants mercy.

Yesterday, Mr. Strickland refused to grant clemency to Richard Cooey, who was convicted in the 1986 rapes and murders of two Akron college students.

He is scheduled to be executed Tuesday.

Bryant Bey was convicted and sentenced to death for the Aug. 9, 1992, robbery stabbing of Dale Pinkelman, 48, owner of Pinky's Collectibles.

But first he was convicted of the similar killing on Nov. 3, 1992, of Pete Mihas, 61, owner of the Boardroom restaurant. Although Bryant Bey was sentenced to life in prison for that crime, the evidence, including a confession, eventually helped to convict him in the earlier Pinkelman murder.

Bryant Bey is asking Mr. Strickland to commute his death sentence to life in prison, arguing that he has benefited from the structure of his incarceration and suggested he could help other inmates.

In the alternative, he asks for a 90-day delay in his execution to allow further exploration into the evidence used to convict him of killing Mr. Pinkelman.

'There is no doubt as to Bryant Bey's guilt in the murders of Pinkelman and Mihas," Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates argues in her brief opposing clemency.

'Bryant Bey's contention that certainty of his guilt would be even stronger if there was more evidence against him is a truism and does not undermine the validity of what evidence there is of his guilt," her brief reads. 'Moreover, it should be noted that Bryant Bey does not claim innocence, but rather seeks remission of his death sentence to life in prison. These factors do not warrant clemency."

Both Mr. Pinkelman and Mr. Mihas were married, with six and two children respectively.

Both families are expected to attend Thursday's hearing, but only the Pinkelman family will be permitted to speak to the parole board.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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