Ohio Governor John Kasich commuted John Eley’s death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Tuesday, with less than 3 weeks until he was scheduled to die.
The Governor’s decision was partially based on support of key participants in the case: the investigating detective on the case opposed his execution, the prosecutor who pushed for the death sentence and the judge who actually handed down the sentence.
Eley may have been caught in a legal crossfire in the case. His co-defendant, Melvin Green, was considered by everyone to be the mastermind behind the crime but when Eley refused to testify against Green, he was given the maximum sentence while Green was acquitted.
Eley shot and killed Ihsan Aydah in 1986, the owner of a market in Youngstown, Ohio.
This is the third death sentence that Kasich has commuted in less than a year. In September 2011, he spared the life of Joseph Murphy based on his terrible childhood and mental condition. And just last month commuted the sentence of Shawn Hawkins, who was convicted of a double murder in 1989; while Kasich admitted that he knew Hawkins was involved in the crime, the finer details and the extent of his participation in the actual murder were “frustratingly unclear”.
The next execution scheduled in Ohio is Donald Palmer on September 20th, 2012.