Ohio to execute farm hand who murdered boy

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 17, 2012 7:43 PM
Ohio to execute farm hand who murdered boy

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio is scheduled on Wednesday to execute a 49-year-old man who stabbed a teenage boy to death when the boy discovered the farm hand burglarizing his horse farm in 1985.

Mark Wiles is set to be put to death by lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. He would be the 14th person executed in the United States this year.

He was sentenced to die for the August 7, 1985, murder of 15-year-old Mark Klima, a top student who aspired to be a doctor. Wiles stabbed the boy 24 times with a kitchen knife.

Wiles worked at Klima's family horse farm in Rootstown in northern Ohio and had been stealing from the family for some time.

A panel of three judges convicted Wiles the following year, not persuaded by a doctor's testimony that Wiles had suffered a head injury 12 days before the murder that may have affected his impulse control.

At his clemency hearing last month, Wiles said he "was not sure he was worthy of clemency." It was denied.

The execution was allowed to proceed after U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost lifted an order that had postponed two previously scheduled executions this year.

On April 4, Frost denied Wiles' motion to delay his execution, ruling the state had fixed problems with its death penalty protocols after the botched execution of Romell Broom in September 2009.

Prison spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Wiles requested for his final meal the night before the execution a pepperoni pizza, a bag of cheese puffs, strawberries, a salad with Ranch dressing, cheesecake, and a vanilla wafer.

Ohio has executed 46 people since the state resumed executions in 1999.

Executions were temporarily halted by a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out federal and state death penalty statutes, prompting states to revamp their laws and procedures. Executions resumed in 1976.

There were 43 executions in the United States in 2011.

(Editing by Andrew Stern and Greg McCune; Desking by Cynthia Osterman)