Ohio governor grants clemency to condemned killer - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ohio governor grants clemency to condemned killer

Richard Neilds - Ohio Department of Corrections Richard Neilds - Ohio Department of Corrections

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has spared a condemned inmate scheduled to die next week for strangling his girlfriend.

Strickland granted clemency Friday to Richard Nields, who strangled killed girlfriend in 1997 during a fight.

Strickland, a Democrat, cited problems with medical testimony at Nields' trial and court decisions that questioned Nields' death sentence.

The governor followed the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board which recommended mercy for Nields last month.

The governor's decision changes Nields' sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters commented on Governor Strickland's decision, saying that he was disappointed in the governor's decision, but believed that he was fully in his authority to grant him clemency. 

Families That Matter, an organization for people who have family on death row, reacted positively to the news. Organizer Sara Haines pointed to the case as a reason for blue ribbon pannels.

Neilds was given the death sentence by a Hamilton County Jury in 1997.  His murdered his girlfriend Patricia Newsome by hitting her in the head with a blunt instrument.

This story contains information from FOX19 and the Associated Press.

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