Board rejects mercy for Cincinnati killer citing abuse, mental illness

Board rejects mercy for Cincinnati killer citing abuse, mental illness
Robert Van Hook (Provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)

COLUMBUS, OH (AP/FOX19) - The Ohio Parole Board has recommended against mercy for a condemned killer whose attorneys cite a history of abuse and untreated mental illness.

The board ruled 8-1 Friday against the clemency request by death row inmate Robert Van Hook.

They say he experienced a "homosexual panic" of self-revulsion before killing a man he picked up at an Ohio bar.

Van Hook is scheduled to die July 18 for strangling and stabbing David Self in Cincinnati in 1985.

Prosecutors say courts have fairly considered Van Hook's childhood and mental health claims previously and there are no grounds for sparing him.

They also dismiss Van Hook's "homosexual panic" claim as nonsense, saying he made a practice of luring gay men to apartments to rob them.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office also notes Van Hook has an extensive history of violence while incarcerated, including stabbing a fellow death row inmate in November.

The parole board heard arguments last week for and against Van Hook's clemency request.

Gov. John Kasich will have the final say.

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