Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Appeals court upholds death sentence in killing of woman

The Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Tuesday kept intact a prisoner's death sentence for raping, robbing and murdering a Cincinnati woman in 1987.

By a 2-1 vote, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by lawyers for prisoner William H. Smith that his original attorneys failed to adequately represent him at his 1988 sentencing in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

Smith, 46, was convicted of aggravated murder, rape and aggravated robbery in the September 1987 killing of Mary V. Bradford, 47, who was found stabbed in her apartment. Police said two TVs and stereo equipment were taken.

No date for Smith's execution has been set.

Smith's lawyers on appeal argued that his original attorneys should have presented more evidence that might have persuaded a three-judge panel to spare Smith the death sentence.

But appeals judges Richard Suhrheinrich and Alice Batchelder noted that court-appointed psychologist Nancy Schmidtgoessling did present evidence that Smith had been physically and emotionally abused during childhood and may have used alcohol and other drugs for some time.

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