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Ohio Supreme Court denies appeal by Anthony Kirkland

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected Anthony Kirkland's appeal to get off of death row for a series of local murders.

Anthony Kirkland murdered and burned the bodies of two women, Mary Jo Newton and Kimya Rolyson and two teenagers 13-year-old Esme Kenney and 14-year-old Sharee Crawford.

Kirkland pled guilty to the murders of the adults. A jury found him guilty on the remaining murder and other charges. Members recommended a death sentence at the end of his 2010 trial.

His attorneys argued that the prosecutor made statements during the penalty phase's closing argument, that were not supported by the evidence to play on jurors' emotions. They argued that the jury may have recommended a life sentence in prison rather than death. While the justices agreed, they declined to order a new sentencing hearing. The justices say that will be part of a required independent evaluation of his death sentence.

The court also overruled arguments that his other acts should not been allowed at trial. A witness testified that Kirkland exposed himself to her and asked her for sex when she was 13-years-old. The justices said the court may admit testimony of other acts when demonstrating intent and motive.

The court also rejected Kirkland's eight other legal arguments. They also ruled that the circumstances surrounding the murders of the teenagers outweighed the facts that Kirkland is a psychopath and suffered repeated physical and sexual abuse growing up.

Kirkland's execution has not been scheduled.

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