Investigation into Kirkland's parole

By Corey McConnell - bio | email
and Regina Russo - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - In response to a FOX19 news investigation on the parole of Anthony Kirkland, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office is still looking to see if the county objected to Kirkland's parole, or if they even knew he was up for parole.

When Kirkland was brought into court last week, it was just another chapter in a long saga. Prosecutors vigorously opposed his parole in 1998, citing the gruesome nature of his 1987 crime. His next shot at parole would be 10 years later, in 2008.

Something called the Layne Lawsuit changed all that, forcing the parole board to reconsider more than 2000 cases, including Anthony Kirkland. Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters says his office cannot find any record of the office even knowing about the 2003 parole hearing.

A spokeswoman for the parole board says local prosecutors are always notified.

"There was notification sent on all Layne cases," said Andrea Carson with the Ohio Department of Corrections.

FOX19 asked to see that notification last week. The parole board gave FOX19 News 26 pages, but the formal notification and any response from the prosecutor were not included.

Deters says his office is still looking for correspondence opposing Kirkland's 2003 release. FOX19 filed a formal request with the parole board under Ohio's Public Records Law for any and all documents related to Kirkland's parole.

FOX19 is also asking for access to records about those other 2000 cases. We want to see if there are other Kirkland cases somewhere in Ohio.

Meanwhile, officials with the Ohio Department of Corrections were in town on Thursday, conducting an investigation in to the Pogue Rehabilitation Center. Kirkland was kicked out of there after he allegedly got into a fight with another inmate. Days later, he was accused of the murder of 13-year-old Esme Kenney.

"We've never had a situation that has been this tragic, there have been other incidents but nothing like this Anthony Kirkland case," said Carson.

Officials say they visited Pogue on a fact finding mission to find out if all the policies and procedures were followed in the Kirkland case.

"We also want to be sure if there's anything that needs to be tweaked, fine tuned, we'll find out what that is," said Carson.

The spokesperson for the department also met with Cincinnati city councilman Cecil Thomas to let him know what the team would be doing, but they did not invite council members to join them on the tour of center.

"Their focus is not politicizing this but just ask the pertinent questions and put a report together," said Thomas.