Ohio's supreme court has upheld the convictions and death sentence of one Lamont Hunter of Cincinnati for the 2006 rape and aggravated murder of his girlfriend's three-year-old son.
Hunter was indicted on charges of child endangerment, rape and aggravated murder with the death penalty specifications that 1) he killed the toddler in the course of committing a violent felony (rape), and 2) purposely caused the death of a child under the age of 13, the Court summarized. He entered not guilty pleas on all charges and specifications. Shortly before his trial was scheduled to begin, He hired Cincinnati attorney Clyde Bennett II to replace the two attorneys who had been appointed by the court to represent him.
Hunter subsequently waived a jury trial in favor of a trial before a three-judge panel. The court returned guilty verdicts on all charges. Following consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors during the penalty phase of the trial, the panel concluded that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors and sentenced Hunter to death on the aggravated murder charge. The court also imposed a life sentence on the rape count and eight years imprisonment on the child endangering count. Hunter’s convictions and death sentence were subject to automatic review by the Supreme Court.
State v. Hunter, Slip Opinion No. 2011-Ohio-6524