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Published: Thursday, 12/9/2010

Ohio man convicted of killing woman at church

ELYRIA, Ohio — A man who figured in a court ruling on Ohio's lethal injection method was convicted Thursday of raping and killing a woman in a church restroom.

A three-judge panel in Lorain County Common Pleas Court returned the verdict on charges of aggravated murder and rape against Ronald McCloud, 30, of Lorain.

He was convicted in the 2005 slaying of 57-year-old Janet Barnard, a church volunteer, in the men's bathroom at the Living Water Christian Fellowship Church in Lorain. Her body was found by the pastor.

Defense attorney Michael Camera told The Chronicle-Telgram of Elyria that McCloud “was prepared for the verdict.”

The newspaper reported that Barnard's family members smiled as the verdict was announced.

“I'm glad this phase is over,” said Barnard's sister Sharon Kaczmarczyk. “I've waited 5 1/2 years.”

The judges will convene Jan. 6 to decide whether to impose the death sentence.

A judge involved in the trial, James Burge, ruled in 2008 in a challenge by McCloud and a suspect in a separate homicide that Ohio must stop using a three-drug combination for executions and focus on a single, anesthetic drug.

McCloud contended that Ohio's lethal injection procedure didn't give the quick and painless death required by state law.

Burge based his decision on testimony from two anesthesiologists who said the last two drugs administered in the procedure created the risk that the prisoner would experience pain. But the order was not applicable statewide and was never enforced.

Even so, after Burge's order, the state public defender's office filed a lawsuit on behalf of 16 death row inmates.

And the state in 2009 moved to a one-drug protocol in response to several challenges to the three-drug method.

McCloud's attorneys couldn't be reached by phone after the court session. Messages were left at their offices.

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