Thursday, August 26, 2004

Death sentence upheld by Ohio Supreme Court



The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday upheld the death sentence for an eastern Ohio man who fatally slashed the throats of his wife, father-in-law, sister-in-law and two-year-old niece.

Nawaz Ahmed killed the four in 1999 two days before Ahmed's final divorce hearing, according to Wednesday's unanimous court ruling. His wife had filed for divorce seven months earlier alleging her husband mistreated her.

Ahmed, 49, was convicted of aggravated murder for cutting the throats of his wife, Dr. Lubiana Bhatti-Ahmed; her father, Abdul-Majid Bhatti; her sister, Ruhi Ahmed, and her 2-year-old niece, Nasira Ahmed.

The court rejected Ahmed's arguments that his relationship with his defense attorneys had broken down to the point they should have been replaced during his trial.

They said the trial judge reviewed Ahmed's complaints about his attorneys and ruled properly he was being adequately represented.

The court also ruled against the argument by Ahmed, a native of Pakistan, that he wasn't told of his rights to contact his country's consulate after his arrest.

The court said Ahmed didn't have that right because he also claimed dual U.S. citizenship.

While Ahmed "was suffering mental and emotional problems in the midst of a contentious divorce," the nature of the slayings, and particularly the killing of his 2-year-old niece, outweighed those factors, Justice Alice Robie Resnick wrote in the court's opinion.




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