By a single vote, the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday overturned the death penalty sentence of Troy Tenace for the killing and robbery of a 76-year-old Toledo man in 1994.
The high court upheld the conviction of Tenace for the murder of Edward Kozlowski during a robbery at the victim's Wamba Avenue home.
However, the justices, in a 4-3 vote, set aside the death sentence that was twice imposed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Tenace, who had done home repair work for the victim.
The court said a lesser sentence of life in prison was appropriate, in part, because of mitigating factors in the defendant's upbringing, including an abusive home and drug usage, and that those factors outweighed the brutality of the crime.
In writing for the majority, Justice Judith Lanzinger said Tenace was raised by a mother who was addicted to drugs and that his childhood was a "tutorial for criminal behavior."
"Tenace was doomed from the start," she wrote.
Do not be surprised to see me at some later date, railing against the death penalty. It is decisions like this, however, that give me pause and drives the ordinary Joe up the wall.
We are not slaves to our genes nor are we exclusively a product of our upbringing. Men are endowed with the knowledge of good and evil, a predisposition to choose evil and the freewill to choose either.
None -- no, not one -- are "doomed from the start!"
I may very well be wrong, but I was not aware that the Ohio Supreme Court had the authority to capriciously overturn decisions like this. No where is it alleged that the killer was treated unfairly nor was it alleged that he is somehow mentally retarded.
An imperial court deserves to be criticized and I can think of few other cases where the high court has so willingly ignored the will of the people not based upon law, but the whim of 4 people in black robes.