Ohio executes man convicted of killing in crime spree

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 06, 2013 6:37 AM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio on Wednesday executed a man who was convicted of killing a security guard and wounding a cashier at an adult book store east of Cleveland in 1994 during a week-long multistate crime spree, the state corrections department said.

Frederick Treesh, 48, was put to death by lethal injection at the Ohio state prison in Lucasville, the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. He was pronounced dead at 10:37 a.m. EST (1537 GMT).

He was the first inmate executed in Ohio this year and the fourth person executed in the United States in 2013, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Treesh was convicted of shooting security guard Henry Dupree four times with a 9mm handgun, killing him, and shooting cashier Louis Lauver twice in the head during a robbery at the Vine Street News store to get cash to buy crack cocaine.

Treesh then fired on police as he and an accomplice, Benjamin Brooks, fled the store. They were arrested after Treesh ran out of ammunition. Treesh was convicted of aggravated murder, attempted murder and felonious assault.

Brooks was sentenced to 40 years to life.

Prosecutors said Treesh's arrest ended a week-long, multi-state crime spree that included the murder of Gus Danno at a video store in Michigan, bank robberies, carjackings and a kidnapping.

Michigan authorities opted not to charge Treesh with Danno's murder after he was sentenced to death in Ohio. Relatives of Danno's were among the witnesses to Treesh's execution.

"I'm not here to say I'm sorry to any of these victims that are here. I've never been tried, never been charged with that crime," Treesh said in a final statement referring to Danno's relatives released by the corrections department.

"I am here for Henry Dupree," the statement continued. "I'd like to apologize to the family for what I've done. I'm sorry."

During the crime spree, Treesh inserted light bulbs in his victims' mouths, wrapped their faces in duct tape and then punched them in the face to shatter the bulbs, prosecutors said.

At trial, prosecutors presented a videotaped interrogation in which Treesh said he had been involved in several other murders, including the lynching of a black man. Defense attorneys said those crimes were unsubstantiated "tall tales."

The Ohio Parole Board voted unanimously against recommending clemency for Treesh, who declined to be interviewed. Republican Governor John Kasich rejected Treesh's clemency bid last week.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey, Mary Wisniewski, Dan Grebler and Alden Bentley)