The Ohio Supreme Court has quashed the death sentence of a man convicted of murdering three women, citing a trial court’s fault.
The state high court on Wednesday overturned the grievous murder sentence of 49-year-old George C. Brinkman, after a lower court ruled on Wednesday that he would not be advised to face witnesses in the June 2017 murders. waiving your rights. according to the verdict.
“We therefore vacate Brinkman’s conviction and sentence and remand the trial court for fresh proceedings,” the justices wrote in the 7-0 ruling.
Brinkman initially pleaded not guilty to killing 42-year-old Susan Taylor and her two daughters, 21-year-old Taylor Pfeiffer and 18-year-old Kylie Pfeiffer, at their North Royalton home outside Cleveland.
Brinkman later converted his plea to guilty and a three-judge panel sentenced him to death. But Cuyahoga County judges failed to read Brinkman a full list of his constitutional rights, which included coercing prosecutors to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote, “Here, the trial court, as well as state and defense attorneys, have failed and required the level of due diligence required in our criminal-justice system.” “This inattention is unacceptable, especially in a case in which the death penalty is on the line.”
Brinkman’s lawyer told cleveland.com He welcomed the decision, but said there was “no excuse” for the error.
Attorney Jeffrey Gamso said, “I think it’s self-evident to say: The court did the right thing.” “What happened is clear. Everyone in the courtroom has participated in the simplest process hundreds of times, they did it wrong. Nobody paid attention and it was a case of death penalty.
Prosecutors said Brinkman tied three of the women to their wrists and ankles before beating them, slitting Taylor’s throat and strangling and strangling their daughters. Brinkman grew up with Taylor while her daughters were college students at Kent State University and Bowling Green University, Cleveland.com. Reported.
Prosecutors said Brinkman then went to Stark County after killing Taylor and her daughters and fatally shooting another couple, Rozelle John, 71, and his wife, Roberta John, 64, in June 2017.
Brinkman pleaded guilty to killing Johns and was sentenced to death in that case. He will remain on the death row since Wednesday’s ruling had no effect on that sentence, Cleveland.com reported.
The ruling, which a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office deemed “unfortunate,” now sends the case back to Cuyahoga County Common Place Court for new proceedings.
“This is a very unfortunate decision that will cause additional trauma to the families of these victims,” Tyler Sinclair, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, told Cleveland.com. “We sympathize with them and share their disappointment and despair. We are committed to ensuring that this defendant is held accountable.”