COLUMBUS - Toledo native Gregory L. Bryant-Bey will mark his 53rd birthday on Aug. 6, but if the Ohio Supreme Court has its way, it will be his last.
The high court yesterday set Nov. 19 as the date for Bryant-Bey's execution for the 1992 robbery murder of Dale Pinkelman, owner of Pinky's Collectibles in North Toledo.
It's a decision Mr. Pinkelman's widow, Sharon, has been dreading. She opposes the death penalty.
"Nov. 19 scares me a whole lot," she said. "I'm not sure how I'm going to feel. I hope he's made his peace with God."
Despite her feelings on the death penalty, Mrs. Pinkelman said Bryant-Bey's lawyer shouldn't seek her help should he seek clemency from Gov. Ted Strickland. She also won't appear before the Ohio Parole Board to help the state argue for execution.
"Sixteen years have gone by," she said. "We've settled into our lives without my husband, which is sad, because there have been 10 more grandchildren since he's gone."
Bryant-Bey would be the first person from northwest Ohio to face execution since the U.S. Supreme Court in April ended an unofficial national moratorium on the death penalty by upholding the constitutionality of the lethal-injection process in a Kentucky case.
A similar civil rights challenge against Ohio's execution protocol is pending in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
"We have moved to have Bryant-Bey intervene in the pending lawsuit. All of the documents have been filed, and we're waiting to hear from Judge [Gregory] Frost as to what will happen," said Richard Vickers, supervisor of the death penalty division of the Ohio Public Defender's Office.
"We will use every avenue we can for Bryant-Bey," he said.
Bryant-Bey had confessed to the separate robbery-murder of Peter Mihas, owner of downtown Toledo's The Board Room restaurant, and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
His confession in that case helped to convict him in the prior killing of Mr. Pinkelman because of the similarities between the two deaths.
Both men were stabbed once in the chest, their pants removed, and their shoes lined up neatly next to their bodies. Bryant-Bey's palm print was also found at the Pinkelman crime scene.
Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates had asked the high court to set the date.
"It's the law," she said. "Our legislature determined it was appropriate, the people of Ohio have indicated they want it, and the courts have upheld it. For those who argue it's not a deterrent, it's a deterrent for that person. Here's someone who killed once and killed again. We at least know he will never kill anyone else."
Barring another court stay, Bryant-Bey would be transported roughly 250 miles from death row at Ohio State Penitentiary at Youngstown to the Southern Ohio Correctional Institution in Lucasville, where the state's death house is located.
The Ohio Supreme Court resumed issuing death warrants on July 11. Richard Cooey is scheduled to die on Oct. 14 for the 1986 rapes and murders of two University of Akron students.
At one time, Cooey was the lead plaintiff in Ohio's lethal injection challenge. The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, removed him from the case, saying he had waited too long to question the drugs and procedures used in Ohio executions. The legal challenge went on with other inmates as plaintiffs.
Ohio has executed 26 since it resumed carrying out executions in 1999. The last was Huron native Christopher Newton, who was executed on May 24, 2007, for the 2001 murder of his cellmate, Toledo native James Brewer.
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