A convicted serial killer asked a Cincinnati, Ohio jury to save his life Friday afternoon. Anthony Kirkland was convicted or admitted involvement in the deaths of five young women. He was originally sentenced to death; however, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors overstepped their bounds during his original sentencing hearing. The Court ordered a new sentencing hearing. A second jury is currently considering whether Kirkland deserves the death penalty or whether Kirkland should be sentenced to life in prison.
WATCH Kirkland’s statement in the player above.
Kirkland was allowed to read a statement without being subjected to cross examination. It commenced as follows: “If we ask Kindergarten students what they want to become, they would say a policeman fireman nurse doctor teacher lawyer pro athlete, maybe an astronaut, perhaps rich and famous. Those Kindergarten students would not say they want to become abused by those who should be caring them or protecting them at the beginning of their early lives,” Kirkland said. Nor would they want to stand in his position, he went on to say.
Kirkland said he was responsible for the deaths of Casonya Crawford, Mary Jo Newton, Kimya Rolison and Esme Kenney. He said he could not explain his “atrocious acts.” He apologized for the pain he caused. He said he was not there to make excuses, to beg for mercy, or to beg for forgiveness.
Kirkland then told jurors that every person is hurt at some point in their lives, and that he lacked proper guidance and support to help him through it. “Those without essential guidance use whatever devices are available to ease their pains, becoming more damaged than before. I am proof a young person, deeply abused, physically, emotionally, and mentally, becomes the abuser,” he said.
Speaking to people who have called him a “monster,” Kirkland went on.
“I cannot offer any justifiable explanations for my senseless acts. I neither expect mercy nor forgiveness. I am not looking for absolution. Eventually, I will answer for a higher authority,” he said. “I do not blame you if you kill me. I do not deserve to be here, but please spare my life.”
“That’s it, judge,” Kirkland concluded.
Statements such as Kirkland’s are referred to as “allocutions.” Ohio trial courts must provide defendants the right to speak at sentencing hearings under state criminal procedure law. The Ohio Supreme Court has in the past reversed sentences where trial courts did not explicitly ask defendants if they wish to speak at sentencing. The Court has said that the right to allocution “is much more than an empty ritual: it represents a defendant’s last opportunity to plead his case or express remorse.”
[Image via screen capture from the Law&Crime Network.]
[Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to include video of the defendant’s allocution.]