OH lawmaker wants to expand death penalty to sex crimes

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An Ohio lawmaker wants to use the death penalty as an option for the most serious sex crime convictions.

State Representative John Becker of Union Township in Clermont County proposed House Bill 244 following the Ariel Castro case in Cleveland.

For more than ten years, Castro held three women captive in his Cleveland home.  Now, he's spending life plus 1,000 years in prison for crimes of aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping and more.

He was spared the death penalty for a plea deal to hundreds of charges. However, that may not last much longer thanks to Becker's proposal.

"This is only for the most heinous crimes, and it was the Ariel Castro case in Cleveland that prompted this bill," said State Rep. John Becker (R-OH) District 65.

House Bill 244 is modeled after a law in South Carolina.

Under this proposal, charges of aggravated rape, aggravated rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery of a child, and aggravated unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

For these crimes to apply to the death penalty, Becker has outlined a set of criteria. They include a conviction, a past conviction for a sex crime and aggravated circumstances.

"When you're talking about the death penalty, it's something very serious. You're taking away somebody's life, and it certainly should not be done for light and transient causes," Becker added.

But consider this -- According to Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, it costs taxpayers $164.06 to house an inmate for a day.  Plus, in 1990 it took about eight years to execute a death row inmate in America. In 2011, the average was 16 ½ years, so says the Bureau of Justice Statistics. So, if more people wind up on death row, taxpayer costs could rise.

Becker claims he had that in mind when drafting the bill.

"The prosecutors and the judicial system would have to look at that saying 'is this case heinous enough that we want to spend taxpayer money to go down that road,'" said Becker.

A Mason man says the death penalty obviously can't be reversed, but as far as taxpayer dollars go, he admits he can't control that.

"I'm paying my taxes like I'm asked to.  If they choose to spend it a certain way, or on those things, then there's not a whole lot I can do about it," Brock Glover told FOX19.

The bill is still a proposal. The legislation could soon be reviewed by a House committee for consideration.

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