By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence for an Illinois man convicted of abducting his estranged girlfriend from Kentucky in 2014 and killing her along an Ohio highway.
Death row inmate Terry Froman was sentenced to death in 2017 by a Warren County jury for shooting Kimberly Thomas on Interstate 75 in southwestern Ohio.
Prosecutors say Froman became vengeful when Thomas ordered him out of her Mayfield, Kentucky, home. They say Froman abducted Thomas from Kentucky after fatally shooting Thomas’ 17-year-old son, Michael Mohney.
Froman shot and killed the 34-year-old Thomas as troopers prepared to approach his car after pulling it over, and then shot himself but survived, according to court records. He received the death sentence because the crimes involved the death of two people.
A unanimous state Supreme Court rejected arguments by Froman’s attorneys that an Ohio death penalty charge wasn’t applicable because one of Froman’s victims was killed in Kentucky. A 2005 change to Ohio law allows the death penalty in such cases, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote.
The court also rejected arguments that Froman received an unfair trial because some jurors expressed racial bias on a questionnaire. Froman, 47, is Black.
“The record does not demonstrate that the jurors were unable to be impartial, and Froman has not established they were actually biased against him,” O’Connor wrote.
For aspects of the series of crimes that started in Kentucky, Froman was sentenced to life in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to charges in that state of killing Thomas’ 17-year-old son and kidnapping Thomas.
A message was left with Froman’s attorney seeking comment.
Also this week, the Supreme Court set a 2025 execution date for a man on death row since 1998 for raping and killing his grandmother, Veader Prince, a year earlier in Farmington Township in Trumbull County in northeastern Ohio.
The court’s decision came at the request of Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, who said inmate Sean Carter had exhausted his appeals and the long delay has meant “justice denied to the survivors of Veader Prince.”
The court set a Jan. 22, 2025, execution date. The state public defender criticized the decision, saying Carter, 41, is severely mentally ill and can’t be executed under previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“Ohio will expend unnecessary taxpayer dollars to try and execute a man who is incapable of understanding why he is being killed,” said State Public Defender Tim Young.
Executions are on long-term hold in Ohio as the state struggles to find a source for drugs to carry out lethal injection.