COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio prepared to execute the killer of an adult bookstore security guard in a slaying that capped a violent, multi-state crime rampage in which he stole cars, robbed banks and took part in another fatal shooting.
Frederick Treesh, a cocaine addict at the time of the killing, has said almost from the day he was arrested that he regretted what he did but drugs made him do it. His attorneys made the same argument a month ago in an unsuccessful bid for clemency.
Prosecutors said Treesh deserves to die because the killing was intentional, and so too were his attempts to gun down police officers pursuing him after the 1994 shooting in the city of Eastlake, outside Cleveland.
Treesh, 48, was scheduled to die by injection at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, about 100 miles south of Columbus. Ohio uses a powerful dose of pentobarbital.
Treesh, of Waterloo, Ind., had no appeals that could affect his execution.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Treesh listed a friend and attorney as witnesses. Relatives of a Michigan video store owner who died three days before the Ohio slaying in a shooting committed by Treesh and his co-defendant Benjamin Brooks also planned to witness the execution.
Both the state parole board and Gov. John Kasich rejected Treesh's plea for mercy in the Aug. 27, 1994, killing of Henry Dupree during the robbery of Vine Street News.
After robbing the bookstore, Treesh shot Dupree after the guard complied with Treesh's order to stand up, prosecutors said.
As Treesh headed out of the store, he shot the store's clerk as he stood with arms raised, prosecutors said. The clerk, Louis Lauver, survived.
As Treesh and Brooks fled with police in pursuit, Treesh shot out the rear window of his car and fired at officers, according to prosecutors. He shot at officers at least three more times after getting out of the car.
Treesh said at trial he was aiming above the officers, but police said when he was finally apprehended he told officers he should have killed them all.
Treesh's attorneys have offered a number of reasons his life should be spared, saying the gun went off during a struggle, a prolonged interrogation as he came down from a drug high violated his rights and health problems including a seizure disorder could make lethal injection a cruel and unusual punishment. None of those attempts have been successful.
Prosecutors said Treesh and Brooks also committed sexual assaults in a crime rampage that crossed Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin before ending in Ohio.
Two days before the Ohio shooting, Brooks and Treesh robbed a video store in Livonia, Mich. Store co-owner Frank Danno was shot and wounded, while his brother, Ghassan Danno, was shot and killed.
Frank Danno said he believed he was shot by Treesh and his brother was shot by Brooks, according to prosecutors. Neither defendant was prosecuted in the Michigan killing.
Ghassan Danno, a married father of two young children, was called the backbone of the family in a statement his family provided the parole board.
Ghassan Danno's sister-in-law and cousin planned to witness Treesh's execution.
Brooks, of New Haven, Ind., pleaded guilty in April 1995 in a deal that spared him the death penalty. The 45-year-old is serving 40 years to life in prison.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus
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