A last-minute stay of execution was lifted late Monday for a man who was convicted in the 1984 shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, and he was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday morning.
Daniel Lee Bedford, 63, has said he doesn't remember the slayings. His lawyers have argued he has dementia and a mild mental disability that keep him from fully understanding the meaning and purpose of his death sentence.
They had sought a stay of execution to allow more time for the courts to consider that issue and others, and a federal judge in Columbus granted the request Monday. Hours later, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati lifted the stay.
Defense lawyer Al Gerhardstein said early Tuesday that he is preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the stay. Bedford's attorneys had also argued that Ohio courts unreasonably applied established law and denied Bedford legal proceedings to which he is constitutionally entitled.
Bedford has confessed to authorities that he gunned down Gwen Toepfert, 25, and John Smith, 27, at the Cincinnati apartment Toepfert shared with a roommate, who witnessed some of the violence but was not killed.
Bedford learned from the roommate that the couple was home and waited at the apartment where, armed with a revolver and a shotgun, he killed Smith and shot Toepfert multiple times before returning to her body and firing a shotgun blast into her groin to be sure she was dead, prosecutors said. He then went to Tennessee and visited a childhood acquaintance, who helped tip off police before Bedford's arrest.
Bedford told the state parole board in March that he doesn't remember the slayings but that his attorneys have told him details and he's "sorry it happened."
"Killing me won't bring them back, but if it has to be done, it has to be done," he said, according to the board's report.
During the interview, he said he recalled some details of his life but had trouble with others. He remembered getting married at age 16, having six children, working for Toepfert's father and recently visiting with his daughter and granddaughter. But he said he didn't remember meeting Smith or being upset with Toepfert, and he had trouble thinking of the names of the attorneys who helped him during the clemency process.
The parole board last month unanimously recommended that Gov. John Kasich deny clemency, and he did.
The Ohio Supreme Court had rejected defense attorneys' arguments about Bedford's mental state and refused to block the execution.
Relatives of Toepfert and Smith have supported the death sentence, saying they believe the killings were merciless and Bedford knew what he was doing.
Bedford spent Monday playing cards on a bed in his cell and seeing several visitors, including his daughter, a spiritual adviser from the corrections department and a pen pal whom has kept in touch with since 1995.