Abdul Awkal to be executed in Ohio Wednesday morning

CLEVELAND - The man convicted of killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law 20 years ago is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday morning in Ohio.

Abdul Awkal, 53, was convicted of shooting his wife and brother in law in the Cuyahoga County Courthouse.

Governor John Kasich has denied clemency for Awkal. That's what the parole board recommended - no clemency. But Awkal's attorneys are now asking the Ohio Supreme Court to step in.

In 1992, Abdul Awkal's estranged wife, Latiffe, was seeking a divorce from him in domestic relations court. Police said Abdul shot her and his brother-in-law Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz in court. Authorities said it was all over a custody dispute.

During the shootings, witnesses said Awkal said no one was going to take his then 14-month-old daughter.

Witnesses said after he shot the victims, he then picked up his daughter.

"[He] walked out the door with a gun pointed at his head," an eyewitness told us then. "Came around the corner carrying the child in one arm and gun pointed at his head with the other hand"

Eventually a sheriff's deputy took Awkal down with a bullet. He survived and was convicted of two counts of aggravated murder.

Now, 20 years later, Awkal's attorneys said he is so mentally ill that he believes the C.I.A. is orchestrating his execution.

Awkal's mental health has been the subject of court hearings for years.

His attorneys said a delay in Wednesday's scheduled execution is necessary to conduct a proper court hearing on his client's competency. They point to a doctor's report of Awkal saying he doesn't understand why he is being executed and instead lives in a fantasy world where he believes he is crucial to the nation's Mideast war effort.

On Monday, a Cuyahoga County Judge ruled there is enough evidence that Awkal was insane and justifies a competency hearing. But that alone won't stop Wednesday's scheduled execution.

Awkal's attorneys are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to delay the execution. But, as of now, prison officials are beginning their preparations for Wednesday's execution.

Newschannel5's Josh Boose and a NewsChannel5 crew will be at the scheduled execution. Boose will be the media witness for the actual execution itself.

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