COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of a Canton man who stabbed his young children to death and fatally shot his former mother-in-law two months after his wife divorced him.
In a 6-1 decision, the court rejected arguments from James Mammone's attorneys that graphic crime-scene photos were inflammatory and should never been shown to jurors, that intense publicity ruined his chances for a fair trial, and that two jurors who said they supported the death penalty should have been removed.
On June 8, 2009, Mammone stabbed his 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son to death as they were strapped in their car seats in Canton. He then went to the home of his ex-wife's mother, whom he severely beat and shot twice, killing her.
In Wednesday's majority opinion, Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger wrote that dozens of potential jurors said they didn't know anything about the case, and regardless, the outcome of the trial would have been the same.
Lanzinger also pointed to a letter that Mammone wrote to The Repository in Canton confessing to the killings, ruling that he was partially responsible for the publicity.
In his dissenting opinion, Justice William O'Neill wrote that though the case challenged his resolve, the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment.
He wrote that Mammone should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.