Ohio board recommends no mercy in teen's death

JoANNE VIVIANO Associated Press Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Parole Board recommended Friday that Gov. John Kasich deny clemency to a man sentenced to die for stabbing to death the teenage son of his employers while burglarizing their farmhouse.

The board ruled unanimously that Mark Wiles' execution should proceed because he exploited the family's kindness and because his remorse doesn't outweigh the brutality of the crime in which a boy was beaten, stabbed 10 times and found with a knife in his back.

Wiles' defense team had argued he should be spared because he confessed to the crime, has shown extreme remorse and regret and has a good prison record.

The board's report now goes to Kasich, who has the option of taking the recommendation or commuting Wiles' sentence to life in prison with no chance for parole.

Wiles, 49, is scheduled to die April 18. However, there is an unofficial moratorium on executions in the state after federal courts delayed February and March executions over concerns that the state continues to deviate from its written rules for lethal injections.

Wiles has joined other inmates in the suit asking a judge to also halt their executions while procedures are reviewed. Hearings continue in that case and are expected to extend into next week.

Prisons department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said the state has made no changes to its policy directive for executions but is implementing an "incident command" protocol aimed at ensuring strict compliance with the policy.

The board's report says Wiles had been out of prison on a previous aggravated robbery for less than a year on Aug. 7, 1985, when he killed 15-year-old Mark Klima, a straight-A student who wanted to be a doctor, in the Portage County farmhouse. The boy's mother had written a letter to the parole board in support of Wiles before his release, despite his having stolen from the family in the past.

Mark Klima was found by two girls who were staying at the farm, the report says. The knife in his back had been used to cut a birthday cake the day before.

The board's report also says Wiles had suffered a head injury in a bar 12 days before the slaying, and a doctor testified that tests indicate he may have an injury to part of the brain that regulates impulse control. Another doctor agreed that Wiles has a brain injury and said he also has a substance abuse problem and personality disorder.

In a statement Friday, Wiles' defense team at the federal public defender's office said he "is not the worst of the worst" and called the parole board "hypocritical in its reasons for either granting or denying clemency."

"In other reports, the Board has denied clemency because an inmate did not accept responsibility, did not express remorse, and even did not do community service projects while on death row. Mr. Wiles has done all of that and then some," the statement said.

"The message this recommendation sends is that it does not matter how well an inmate behaves in prison, or how much remorse they demonstrate, or whether the only evidence the prosecution had to convict Mr. Wiles was his own confessions."

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