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Published: Tuesday, 7/14/2009

Ohio executes trucker who went on killing spree

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LUCASVILLE, Ohio A former Oregon truck driver who went on a multistate killing spree was executed Tuesday for murdering an Ohio man who gave him a ride in February 1991.

John Fautenberry, 45, was pronounced dead at 10:37 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, about two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to delay his execution on a claim that he had brain damage.

Fautenberry was sentenced to death for killing Joseph Daron Jr., 46, who picked up the hitchhiking Fautenberry east of Cincinnati. Court records show Daron pleaded for his life before Fautenberry shot him and threw his body into a wooded area near the Ohio River.

Fautenberry shook his head and said no when technicians asked him whether he wanted to make a final statement before being executed. He had no family members or friends present.

Fautenberry wore black-rimmed glasses and remained passive during the execution process. He walked into the death chamber unassisted and lay on the gurney in preparation for lethal injection.

Technicians had some difficulty inserting the shunts into Fautenberry s right arm, and blood pooled on the bandages. His arms and chest convulsed slightly and his Adam s apple jerked for about five minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow about 10:25 a.m.

He kept rubbed the fingers of his left hand together until about a minute later, when his fingers grew still. At 10:28 a.m., the warden shook him on the shoulder and called his name, part of Ohio s revised execution procedure.

Fautenberry gave up his right to a trial by jury in Cincinnati and pleaded no contest July 23, 1992, to two counts each of aggravated murder and grand theft and one count of aggravated robbery in Daron s death.

Fautenberry also confessed to killing four people in three other states Alaska, Oregon and New Jersey during a five-month period in late 1990 and early 1991.

Six people watched the execution on behalf of victims families, including Charlene Farmer, the mother of Gary Farmer, a fellow trucker whom Fautenberry was convicted of killing.

Visibly shaken, Charlene Farmer clutched several photographs of her son and held them to her lips during the execution process.

In New Jersey, Fautenberry was convicted of manslaughter for killing Farmer, a fellow trucker, and received a life sentence.

In Alaska, Fautenberry pleaded guilty in the March 1991 fatal stabbing of Jefferson Diffee of Juneau and received a 99-year sentence.

Fautenberry confessed to shooting two people in the head in Oregon. Donald Nutley, whom Fautenberry he met at a truck stop, was shot dead after the two went target shooting in November 1990. Christine Guthrie, a Portland bank teller, was killed in February 1991 after Fautenberry returned to the state from Ohio.

His Ohio defense attorney, Dennis Sipe, had argued that the state should pay a neuropsychologist to examine Fautenberry, whose last mental exam was 13 years ago. Sipe contended that Fautenberry should not be executed because he has brain damage from a childhood accident and from an injury while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Ohio has put 30 men to death since it reinstated the death penalty in 1999. Wilson is the first inmate executed in Ohio since June 3.



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