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Execution Is Delayed for DNA Test

November 08, 2005|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Robert A. Taft on Monday delayed for the second time in two months the execution of a condemned man who says he's innocent.

Taft granted John Spirko a 60-day reprieve at the request of Atty. Gen. Jim Petro, who says he needs that long to do DNA testing sought by Spirko's lawyers.

Spirko was scheduled to die by lethal injection Nov. 15 for the 1982 killing of Betty Jane Mottinger, 48, who was abducted and repeatedly stabbed, then wrapped in a tarp and dumped in a field.

Spirko, 59, was convicted on the basis of witness' statements and his own comments to investigators. No physical evidence linked him to the crime.

Spirko sued in federal court Wednesday to require the testing of the tarp, a cement block found near Mottinger's body and duct tape wrapped around her, among other items.

On Sept. 8, Taft delayed Spirko's scheduled Sept. 20 execution to look into whether prosecutors had presented inaccurate information at a clemency hearing in August.

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