- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio on Wednesday executed a man for fatally stabbing the 15-year-old son of his former employers during a 1985 farmhouse burglary, marking the state’s first execution in six months.

Forty-nine-year-old Mark Wiles died by lethal injection, ending an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty that occurred while the state and a federal judge wrangled over Ohio’s lethal injection procedures. The time of death was 10:42 a.m.

Wiles, who dropped his final appeal last week, told the Ohio Parole Board that he wasn’t sure he deserved mercy but he was requesting clemency because he had to. Both the parole board and Gov. John Kasich denied Wiles‘ request.

Records show that Wiles surprised 15-year-old Mark Klima during a burglary at his family’s farmhouse and stabbed the teen repeatedly with a kitchen knife until the youth stopped moving.

Wiles spent the night on the phone, listening to the radio and writing letters, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. He and two sisters and a brother-in-law cried during emotional visits Wednesday morning, and he also said the rosary with his spiritual adviser.

Wiles did not sleep after arriving at the death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville on Tuesday morning about 9:45 a.m., Ms. Smith said.

“He did have a few brief moments where he became emotional upon his arrival, but his overall demeanor has remained the same, which is respectful, cooperative and compliant with our staff,” Ms. Smith said.

For his special meal Tuesday night, Wiles requested a large pizza with pepperoni and extra cheese, hot sauce, a garden salad with ranch dressing, a large bag of Cheetos, a whole cheesecake, fresh strawberries, vanilla wafers and Sprite, Ms. Smith said.

He was visited by two sisters, a brother-in-law and his attorney, Ms. Smith said.

Wiles‘ defense team argued he should be spared because he confessed to the crime, has shown extreme remorse and regret, and has a good prison record.

Mark does want to live out his natural life in prison,” his attorneys said in their application for clemency. They added, “His remorse and regret are so overwhelming that he could not articulate reasons his life should be spared.”

Wiles easily could have escaped the farmhouse after Mark Klima surprised him, Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci told the parole board. “Instead, Wiles chose to repeatedly plunge the 8-inch kitchen knife into Mark Klima again and again,” Mr. Vigluicci said.

A report to the parole board said Wiles had suffered a head injury in a bar 12 days before the slaying in Rootstown in northeast Ohio, and a doctor testified that tests indicate he may have an injury to part of the brain that regulates impulse control. Another doctor agreed that Wiles has a brain injury and said he also has a substance abuse problem and personality disorder.

The parole board earlier this month ruled unanimously that Wilesexecution should proceed because he exploited the family’s kindness and because his remorse doesn’t outweigh the brutality of the crime.

Gov. John Kasich, without additional comment, agreed with the board last week.

Wiles went to prison in 1983 for stealing tools, jewelry, a wallet, a checkbook, a pistol and other items from a Tallmadge home in November 1982.

Carol Klima, Mark’s mother, agreed to fill out a form that March ahead of a parole hearing for Wiles, who had been a farmhand on the Klimas’ farm. He was “polite, very helpful and did a nice job,” she wrote on March 21, 1983.

“Yes,” she answered to the question: “If possible, would you re-hire him?”

The execution marked the first time in six months that Ohio has put someone to death, following a delay while the state and a federal judge went back and forth over the lethal-injection procedures.

Ohio’s most recent execution delays stemmed from inmates’ lawsuits over how well executioners perform their duties.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost sided with inmates last summer and postponed executions while the state updated its procedures.

In November, Judge Frost allowed Ohio to put Reginald Brooks to death for killing his three sons as they slept in 1982 shortly after his wife said she wanted a divorce. In the process, executioners deviated slightly from their written execution plan.

The changes were minor — failing to properly check a box on a medical form, for example — but they angered Judge Frost, who had made his impatience with even slight changes clear. He once again put executions on hold.

Two weeks ago, after a weeklong trial over the latest procedures, Judge Frost said the state had narrowly demonstrated it was serious about following its rules. He warned prison officials to get it right the next time.

Ms. Smith said Wednesday the state has a review process in place that allows prisons Director Gary Mohr to oversee the details and procedures of the execution policy.

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