HARRISON, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Tuesday in favor of allowing the death sentence to stand for a man who killed a 10-year-old Harrison girl in 1991.
The court said Hamilton County had the right to try the case against Jeffrey Wogenstahl despite his claim that the evidence could not determine whether his victim, Amber Garrett, was killed in Ohio or Indiana.
Prosecutors said Garrett was stabbed and beaten and her body was found just across the state border in Bright, Indiana.
Authorities searched for three days before finding her body in an overgrown area not far from where a witness had spotted Wogenstahl's car on Jamison Road.
Justice Sharon L. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and said although the evidence does not support the prosecution's theory that Garrett was murdered in Wogenstahl's apartment in Hamilton County, consequently, the evidence does not prove that the girl was murdered in Indiana.
A witness saw Garrett alive as Wogenstahl drove past her heading into Indiana.
Chief Justice Maureen O'Conner wrote the dissenting opinion stating that based on the timeline of events established by the prosecution it can be reasonably determined Garrett was murdered in Indiana and therefore the Hamilton County court did not have the jurisdiction to try Wogenstahl for aggravated murder.
Both agreed that the legality of the statue should have been argued in court before there was a ruling on Wogenstahl's death sentence.
Wogenstahl was found guilty of aggravated murder, kidnapping and aggravated burglary in 1993.
In 1994, the First District Court of Appeals upheld his conviction as did the Ohio Supreme Court in 1996.
After this execution date was set, Wogenstahl filed a motion in 2015 to stay his execution and reopen his appeal alleging that the Hamilton County court did not have the jurisdiction to try him.