Prosecutor still wants death penalty for serial killer: 'It's horrible'

Jury selection begins in serial killer case

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A modern-day serial killer in Cincinnati is getting a second chance at life.

Anthony Kirkland was convicted of murdering and burning the bodies of four women -- two of them teens. But after an appeal of the death row execution and ultimate Ohio Supreme Court ruling, re-sentencing is about to begin.

So the question we're asking now -- how did we get here?

In 1987, Kirkland did 16 years for killing and burning his girlfriend. He got out and then murdered four more people.

In 2010, he received a life sentence for killing 45-year-old Mary Jo Newton and 25-year-old Kimya Rolison. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters wanted death for Kirkland for killing 13-year-old Esme Kenney and 14-year-old Casonya Crawford.

It's what Deters said during that trial that got Kirkland back in the courtroom this week.

"The defense attorney got up and said, 'Look, he's gonna be in prison the rest of his life so just don't kill him,' and I said, 'That's horrible -- that's not your job. Your job is litigation, that's it,'" he said. "And I said, 'That's like saying (the teen victims) were freebies for him,' and I said, 'You cannot consider that.'"

Kirkland received the death penalty in that trial, but the word "freebies" is one of the reasons Kirkland may not be executed after all. That, and Deters says, agendas.

"I just have a great problem with judges that decide that they don't like the death penalty -- fine, run for governor, run for legislator, but don't do it from the bench," Deters said. "That is horse crap."

In Esme's case, she went out to jog around the Winton Hills reservoir near her home the afternoon of March 7, 2009. Her mother was back at their house, cleaning the floor, when her daughter was taken from her forever.

"He by chance ran into her, picked her up, dragged her into the woods, raped her and strangled her and burned her body," Deters said. "And this isn't some kook, he's got a college degree and if he gets out he will kill again."

Kirkland admitted to that murder and others in a nine-hour taped confession with a Cincinnati police homicide investigator.

"It's horrible," Deters said. "He almost takes delight in describing the murders."

The new jury selection begins Friday morning. Deters is going for the death penalty again and said he hopes it sticks this time.

During the original trial, Kirkland made eye contact with no one, mentioned none of his victims by name, and struggled to get through a statement where he acknowledged he does not deserve forgiveness.

Kirkland said he hopes to be locked away forever.

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