Bill prohibiting death penalty for mentally ill heads to governor’s desk

    Ohio House
    Photo from the Ohio House of Representatives website.

    A bill to prohibit the death penalty for convicted killers if they suffer from a serious mental illness is headed to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk.

    Members of the Ohio House of Representatives passed the bill Thursday, a week after it cleared the Ohio Senate.

    As previously reported, House Bill 136 spares a person convicted of aggravated murder from being sentenced to death if they are diagnosed with a specific mental illness: schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and delusional disorder. The person would then be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    It also lets someone on death row be resentenced if such a diagnosis can be proven in court. 

    Ohio has not executed anyone on death row since DeWine took office in January 2019.

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    Tyler Buchanan
    Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.