The state prepared Monday to execute a man for beating and stomping to death a fellow inmate in a jailhouse assault, stopping periodically to mop blood off his sneakers, after the two argued over which TV channel to watch.
Clarence Carter, 49, was moved from death row in Youngstown to the southern Ohio prison that houses the state's lethal injection chamber at around 10 a.m., about 24 hours before his scheduled execution Tuesday, said prisons spokesman Carlo LoParo.
Carter is being executed for killing Johnny Allen Jr., 33, who died two weeks after the December 1988 beating in the Hamilton County jail in Cincinnati. Carter punched, choked, kicked and stomped on Allen for a half-hour; days before, Carter had punched Allen in the eye when one of the men changed a TV channel, investigators said.
Allen was being held on a theft charge. Carter was in the jail waiting to be sentenced on a prior conviction of aggravated murder. He told the Ohio Parole Board in February that the earlier slaying was over drugs, money and documents that had been stolen from a drug operation in which he was involved.
Carter's lawyers argued against the execution, claiming Allen's killing was not premeditated, that Allen was a former U.S. Army soldier who likely instigated the fight and that the inmates used as witnesses were unreliable. They said Carter is borderline mentally disabled and that his upbringing was marked by violent role models, including a stepfather who beat him when he stuttered and a cousin who paid him 50 cents to fight other children.
Carter spent Monday visiting with his brother, lawyer and two spiritual advisers, praying and reading the Quran, LoParo said. He also took a nap and wrote a note. Among items allowed in his cell were assorted photographs and a skull cap.
Carter has no challenges pending. The parole board ruled unanimously last month against granting clemency, and Gov. John Kasich last week denied him mercy.
Former state prisons director Terry Collins, who retired last year, and Cincinnati civil-rights attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein had asked Kasich to spare Carter, saying there was no evidence he planned to kill Allen and that it's "much more likely that this was an inmate fight that got tragically out of hand."
In letters to the parole board, Allen's mother and sister said he was unrecognizable after the beating and never regained consciousness and that he has grandchildren he'll never meet.
"This was not a fight gone bad, but rather a vicious attack," wrote sister Crystal Miller.
Carter had been scheduled for execution in 2007, but was spared by a lawsuit pending at the time that challenged lethal injection.
That year, the parole board had voted 6-3 against clemency, with those dissenting saying they were troubled by what appeared to be contradictory or inaccurate testimony by inmate witnesses. Carter's lawyers have said that ruling also incorrectly stated that his first murder victim was a police informant who was going to testify against a friend.
Carter's brother, nephew and one of his attorneys plan to attend the execution. No one plans to witness on behalf of Allen.
LoParo said Carter opted not to have a special meal and was served the same dinner as the other Lucasville inmates, including tuna casserole, wheat bread, oven-browned potatoes, turnip greens, coleslaw, an orange and some juice. He waited to begin eating until after sundown.
Carter is to be the second inmate killed using the surgical sedative pentobarbital as a stand-alone execution drug.