Attorney change delays re-sentencing for convicted serial killer

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - New counsel was named Monday for a convicted serial murderer hoping to get a second chance at life in prison without parole instead of Death Row.

The last-minute change in lawyers for Anthony Kirkland means his re-sentencing hearing will now be delayed several months.

In a surprise move the day jury selection was to begin, his attorneys announced in court last week they wanted off the case.

They said they didn't feel they could represent Kirkland, 49, after learning he was talking to an attorney for the State Public Defender's Office.

The judge agreed to let them off the case and delayed further court proceedings until Monday.

Kirkland was convicted in 2010 of killing two women and two teenage girls.

The jury recommended the death penalty, and the judge concurred.

But last year, the Ohio State Supreme Court ordered a re-sentencing hearing.

They said prosecutors may have been prejudicial in their closing arguments.

That means the man who sexually assaulted, strangled and then burned the bodies of three of his victims could get a lighter sentence.

He could be allowed to live out his days in prison without the possibility of parole.

Kirkland was convicted after a jury trial of murder in the 2006 death of 14-year-old Casonya Crawford and 2009 slaying of 13-year-old Esme Kenney.

He was arrested the day he killed Esme when she went jogging near the Winton Road reservoir.

Before the trial began, he pleaded guilty to killing two women, 45-year-old Mary Jo Newton and 25-year-old Kimya Rolison.

Once the jury is set for the re-sentencing, testimony must occur all over again, putting the families through the anguish of reliving the grisly slayings.

Copyright 2017 WXIX. All rights reserved.