LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Ohio planned to execute a white gunman who spewed racial slurs before fatally shooting a black man and a police officer in a 1994 rampage at his suburban Cleveland apartment complex, using a lethal injection that was to be the last before the state’s supply of its execution drug expires.
Harry Mitts Jr., 61, was scheduled to die Wednesday at the state prison in Lucasville after years of acknowledging his crimes and saying he’s repented.
Mitts was convicted of aggravated murder and attempted murder in the rampage against random neighbors and responding police officers.
He was on constant watch headed into the 10 a.m. execution after two recent high-profile prison suicides in the state. With his execution, Ohio’s valid supply of the execution drug pentobarbital was also set to expire. Officials expect to announce the state’s new procedure next month.
With clemency denied and his legal appeals exhausted, Mitts has been concentrating on spiritual matters during what are expected to be his final days, attorney Jeff Kelleher said Tuesday.
“He is more concerned with the higher power right now than what those like myself or the state might or might not do,” Kelleher said.
The prisons department said Mitts visited with his attorneys, a friend and a spiritual adviser Tuesday evening.
Mitts has said he’s repented for the crimes committed during his drunken racially charged rampage. His criminal record was minimal before and since.
Wearing what witnesses described as yellow goggles and wielding a gun with a laser sight and later other weapons, Mitts first shouted racial epithets and killed a neighbor’s black boyfriend, John Bryant, and then shot and killed white Garfield Heights police Sgt. Dennis Glivar as he responded to the scene. Mitts also shot and wounded two other police officers.
Mitts told the Ohio Parole Board he had drunk heavily because he was distraught over his divorce and had likely shot Bryant to draw police to his home in hopes they would shoot and kill Mitts. He said he wasn’t a racist and didn’t remember directing racial slurs at Bryant before shooting him. He said he couldn’t say why he didn’t shoot two white neighbors he encountered ahead of Bryant.
The current Garfield Heights police chief, Bob Sackett, told the panel during an August hearing that Mitts’ denial of his racial motivation was an insult to Bryant’s family.
“Nothing Mitts said or did on the night of the crime suggested that Mitts did in fact want to die at the police’s hands or that he was not in control of his own actions,” he told the board. “Mitts murdered two men in cold blood, one because of the color of his skin, one because of the uniform he wore.”
Among a patchwork of actions that day, Mitts called and threatened the husband of his ex-wife, then-Grand River Police Chief Jonathon Salerno, saying he at one time intended to kill him, too. Salerno said Mitts was an aggressive person who hated blacks and the police.
Prosecutors said that, with the murders, multiple shootings and additional death threats carried out that day, Mitts “exhibited complete disregard for the lives of officers and innocent bystanders at the scene.”
“That further tragedy did not result from the bedlam that Mitts created on August 14, 1994, is in many respects a miracle,” a clemency report said.
His pleas for mercy were denied by the Ohio Parole Board and Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Mitts, at his clemency hearing, said he had found God in prison. After his conviction, he spoke of receiving a Bible from Glivar’s mother and sister and a letter expressing their forgiveness and urging him to seek repentance.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30