Death penalty upheld for Ohio man who fatally shot couple

Analysis on Litigation

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for a man who shot and killed a couple whose house and dog he was caring for while they were away on vacation.

Death row inmate George Brinkman pleaded guilty to the 2017 deaths of Rogell and Roberta John and was sentenced to death by a three-judge Stark County panel.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments by Brinkman’s attorneys that he should be spared because of childhood abuse he suffered and mental health issues. They said those factors along with remorse he’s shown for the killings don’t outweigh the brutal nature of the attack.

The court also rejected claims that Brinkman wasn’t fully informed by his attorneys and the trial judge about his ability to withdraw his guilty plea.

Brinkman is awaiting a new trial in that case after the state Supreme Court threw out his conviction and death sentence, saying a three-judge panel failed to inform him about his right to question witnesses.

Brinkman, 50, also received a death sentence for the killings in Cuyahoga County of a woman and her two adult daughters the day before the Johns were slain.

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