Joe Byrne had waited 18 years to see the man who had raped and killed his wife in Beavercreek put to death. His wait ended in April 2003.
“David Brewer had to die,” Byrne said the day of the execution. “He deserved nothing less than death.”
But in an interview this month, Byrne said the days after Brewer’s death didn’t bring the relief he expected.
“What I thought I wanted had just happened, but I felt worse. To this day I can’t really explain it other than to say maybe a silly part of me was saying OK Sherry is going to come back,” he said. “I don’t know because I can’t explain it, but I felt worse than I ever felt.”
He said the long court process delayed his healing, instead angering him every time attorneys used legal maneuvering to drag the case out or threw up a new defense.
“It’s just uncalled for,” he said. “It’s a waste of time, it’s a waste of money and mostly it just, emotionally it just eats people up. Money could be spent better whether it be helping victims better deal with these things, give them some psychological help, as opposed to paying all of these lawyers all the time.”
When Brewer was sentenced, there was no option in Ohio for life in prison without parole as there is now. He said it possibly would have been a worse sentence for Brewer, and saved a lot of time and money.
But Mark Spencer of Springfield is skeptical that life in prison means life in prison. Spencer is still waiting for Juan Kinley — who hacked his sister Thelma Miller and her 12-year-old son David to death with a machete in 1989 — to have his death warrant carried out.
Like Brewer, life in prison without parole wasn’t an option when Kinley was sentenced. Spencer said he would support life in prison if he knew it was permanent, but he lives in fear for the safety of himself and others that as long as Kinley is alive, there’s a chance some slick defense attorney could come along and get him out.
“I think he should be executed,” Spencer said. “Tax dollars are wasted in every area of the United States, these tax dollars aren’t wasted because they’re keeping somebody off the street, keeping them from harming someone else.”
Kinley’s case is currently on appeal over whether police had the authority to take a sample of blood from Kinley’s jacket that DNA testing showed was David’s.
“I think these appeals processes are ridiculous,” Spencer said. “They deserve a defense. Everybody has a right to that attorney (but) when it’s rock solid like that they need to cut a lot of this nonsense out.”
Spencer said he has worked hard to forgive Kinley as the Bible commands. But he can’t muster sympathy for him as he contemplates his execution.
“He’s going to get a last meal,” he said, his voice cracking. “My sister and my nephew, their lunch was still on the table. They didn’t get to eat.”