Death Penalty Appeal

Appeals court rejects condemned prisoner's request for new trial

A federal appeals court today rejected a request for a new trial for a man convicted in one of Ohio's oldest capital punishment cases. The Sixth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal by John Spirko. The 57-year-old Spirko is on death row for the 1982 abduction and killing of postmaster Betty Jane Mottinger, of the Elgin post office in Van Wert County. Defense lawyer John Callahan said Spirko's lawyers may ask the full appeals court to set aside today's ruling by a three-judge panel and re-consider the case. The Ohio attorney general's office says the ruling shows there was no injustice in the case. Spirko's execution date is on hold while the appeal is pending.