In Ohio, the machinery of execution continues on its relentless trajectory: no sooner have the death row inmates relaxed a little after the tension surrounding one execution date than another date looms. Next in line is William T. Montgomery, who Jeffrey Wogenstahl has known for many years. Like Jeff, Montgomery has a strong claim of innocence.
In order to prevent Montgomery’s execution, his lawyers have asked the Ohio Adult Parole Authority to recommend clemency. In their petition they list a huge amount of evidence that was suppressed by Montgomery’s prosecution, secured only after a Freedom of Information request.
The petition notes that six Federal judges argued that Montgomery should be granted a new trial because of a suppressed police report that contradicts the state’s theory of the case. Moreover, a recent forensics report confirms this error in the state’s theory; the forensics report was not available when the majority Federal judges blocked a new trial for Montgomery.
The petition continues:
“This case contains a number of troubling elements – no independent, direct evidence of guilt; the Prosecution relied exclusively on the testimony of an accused murderer and child molester who cut a deal; withheld evidence; gross prosecutorial misconduct; and confused, tainted jurors – that taken alone are cause for concern if they resulted in a death verdict. But taken together, these elements are cause for alarm as the execution approaches.”
Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action appeal for Montgomery; it asks for appeals to be sent to the Ohio Parole Board and to Governor John Kasich. Ohioans to Stop Executions also asks for citizens of Ohio and elsewhere to take action on behalf of William T. Montgomery.
We urge Jeff’s supporters to do so.
Update: Ohio Governor, John Kasich, has commuted William T. Montgomery’s death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, in line with the Ohio Parole Board’s earlier recommendation. This will allow Montgomery to pursue a new trial.