Ohio top court delays Cleveland killer's Wednesday execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday delayed a condemned inmate's execution following a judge's ruling that the inmate is too mentally ill to be put to death.

The court's decision means Abdul Awkal is now months or even years away from execution after coming within a few hours of dying by lethal injection June 6. He was sentenced to die for the 1992 killing of his estranged wife and brother-in-law.

The execution was set for Wednesday.

A Cuyahoga County judge ruled last week that Awkal is too mentally ill to be put to death, citing the killer's belief that the CIA is orchestrating his execution. Judge Stuart Friedman held a hearing on Awkal's competency after he received a two-week reprieve from Gov. John Kasich.

Awkal belatedly changed his story to blame the CIA for pressing to execute him, according to Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason. His lawyers say the fact that he believes the CIA is orchestrating his execution shows he lives in a fantasy world.

His attorneys have argued he is so mentally ill he believes he plays a crucial role in the country's war on terrorism.

If put to death, he would be the second man Ohio executes this year since the end of an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment that lasted six months.

By law, a person cannot be put to death if he lacks a rational understanding of why he is facing execution -- the standard cited by Friedman in ruling that Awkal is mentally incompetent to face execution.

Awkal was convicted of killing his estranged wife, Latife Awkal, and brother-in-law, Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, in a Cleveland courtroom basement in January 1992 as the couple prepared to take up divorce and custody issues.

------
Associated Press writer Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Related Stories

Ohio top court delays Cleveland killer Ohio top court delays Cleveland killer's Wednesday execution

The Ohio Supreme Court has delayed a condemned killer's execution to allow time for him to be treated for mental illness.

Ohio judge: Condemned killer Abdul Awkal not competent, will not be executed Ohio judge: Condemned killer Abdul Awkal not competent, will not be executed

An inmate is too mentally ill to be executed for the killings of his wife and brother-in-law, a judge ruled Friday in a decision that comes just a week after the governor issued a reprieve hours before the man was set to die.

Day 3 of testimony on condemned Cuyahoga County killer Abdul Awkal fate Day 3 of testimony on condemned Cuyahoga County killer Abdul Awkal fate

A judge who has heard conflicting testimony must decide whether a condemned killer who says the CIA is plotting against him is mentally competent to face execution.

Witness: Cuyahoga County condemned killer feels remorse Witness: Cuyahoga County condemned killer feels remorse

A death penalty opponent says a condemned killer facing execution next week in Ohio feels remorse for killing his wife and brother-in-law in a Cleveland courthouse in 1992.

Psychiatrist: Ohio killer of 2, Abdul Awkal, is mentally competent Psychiatrist: Ohio killer of 2, Abdul Awkal, is mentally competent

A psychiatrist testifying Wednesday for the state said a condemned killer facing execution next week is mentally competent, disputing a defense claim that he is too psychotic to be executed.

Hearing continues for reprieved Ohio inmate Abdul Awkal Hearing continues for reprieved Ohio inmate Abdul Awkal

A hearing was scheduled to continue Wednesday for a condemned Ohio inmate believed by his attorneys to be too mentally ill to be executed.

Prosecutor seeks mercy for condemned Ohio killer Prosecutor seeks mercy for condemned Ohio killer

The prosecutor who helped send the killer of a Youngstown store owner to death row told the state Parole Board on Tuesday that the condemned inmate should be spared.

Ohio governor grants reprieve for condemned killer Abdul Awkal Ohio governor grants reprieve for condemned killer Abdul Awkal

Republican Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday issued a rare last-minute reprieve for a condemned killer, sparing Abdul Awkal for two weeks to allow a judge to hold a hearing on his mental competency.

Ohio court rejects delay for death row inmate Ohio court rejects delay for death row inmate

The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a request to delay the execution of a condemned killer of two to allow a lower court to hold a hearing on whether he is so mentally ill that he should not be put to death.

Prison: condemned Ohio killer in good spirits Prison: condemned Ohio killer in good spirits

A condemned Ohio inmate awaiting execution in less than a day is in good spirits and has ordered a last meal consisting mostly of vegetables.