The state parole board on Tuesday rejected a plea of mercy from a man who killed a woman and scattered her body parts, clearing the way for him to become the first person in the nation executed with the injection of a single drug.
Kenneth Biros' execution, scheduled for next month, is temporarily on hold, but it could still proceed if a federal judge allows.
The parole board, which had twice previously rejected clemency for Biros, said it was sticking with its earlier recommendations against mercy.
"The brutality and violence exhibited in the offense outweigh the mitigating factors surrounding Mr. Biros' life prior to the offense, and his adjustment to incarceration," the board determined in its January 2007 ruling.
Biros killed 22-year-old Tami Engstrom near Warren in 1991 after he offered to drive her home from a bar. He acknowledges the slaying but says it was done during a drunken rage.
"He's a murderous monster who committed one of the worst crimes that a human being can commit because he combines torture, rape, robbery, mutilation, dismemberment," Dennis Watkins, prosecutor in Trumbull County where the slaying happened, said Tuesday.
"He is the poster person for the death penalty," he said.
Messages left for Biros' attorneys were not immediately returned. They argued at a hearing last week that Biros is remorseful, has grown spiritually in prison, has been a model inmate and had a negligible criminal history before the killing.
Executions in Ohio have been on hold since Sept. 15 when Gov. Ted Strickland stopped the execution of Rommel Broom after two hours when prison officials could not find a usable vein.
U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost last month delayed Biros' Dec. 8 execution but left open the possibility it could happen if the state revised its execution procedures.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced Friday that it was eliminating the standard three-drug lethal cocktail, used in dozens of states, and instead would use a single, powerful dose of anesthetic. A backup method allows for the injection of two drugs directly into an inmate's muscle.
The state says the new policy accomplishes two things: ends a long-running constitutional challenge that holds that the current three-drug system could cause severe pain, and creates a method to avoid situations such as the botched Broom execution.
It planned to have the full policy in place in time for the Biros' execution.
Biros and Engstrom met after work in 1991 at a tavern in Masury in northeast Ohio. Police believed she fled his advances, perhaps ran from his car and fell or was struck or was strangled when Biros tried to quiet her.
A search based on Biros' information led to body parts that had been buried, and some dug up and reburied, near Masury and in adjacent areas in northwest Pennsylvania.