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Prosecutor Argues Against Clemency for Convicted Killer, Parole Board Agrees

A photo of Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien before the parole board's meeting.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien talks before the parole board meeting.

Gov. Mike DeWine has gotten his first clemency report from the state parole board. And the board has unanimously recommended no mercy for a man convicted of killing his substance abuse counselor in Columbus in 1993 and taking his car, credit cards and wedding ring to get money for drugs. 

Wayne Keith Henness has argued his trial defense team was inadequate. David Stebbins with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office made that case to the parole board.

“Evidence was not presented to the jury because counsel did not conduct an investigation into the state’s case, the state’s witnesses, or any of the explanations that Keith had provided,” Stebbins said.

But Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said that’s Henness’ own fault.

“Mr. Henness has told a different story at a different time and a different place each and every step along the way,” O'Brien said.

The parole board agreed, and also said Henness' claims that he didn't shoot Richard Meyers were not persuasive and that Henness is not significantly impaired by mental illness, so they recommended Gov. Mike DeWine allow his execution to go forward next month.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.