Thursday, March 25, 2004

Furnish gets death penalty a second time


Home-invasion killer heads back to death row

By Travis Gettys
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - A Kenton County jury sentenced Fred Furnish to death for a second time Tuesday for the 1998 home-invasion murder of Ramona Jean Williamson.

Furnish was convicted in 1999 of strangling and robbing the 66-year-old Crestview Hills widow. But in the time between her murder and Furnish's conviction, the General Assembly created the penalty of life in prison without possibility of parole.

A judge did not allow jurors in that trial to consider the new penalty. The Kentucky Supreme Court overturned Furnish's sentence in 2002 and granted him a new sentencing hearing, to include the new penalty.

Jurors were not required to find Furnish guilty again, because the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the conviction. After 21/2 hours of deliberation Tuesday, the jury agreed with the original sentence.

While on death row in 2002, Furnish pleaded guilty to the 1997 strangling murder of Doris Bertsch, 70, of Kenton Hills.

E-mail tgettys@enquirer.com




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