Background: Following waiver of jury trial and
his plea of guilty, defendant was convicted by a three-judge panel
in the Court of Common Pleas, Richland County, No. 02-CR-48H, of
aggravated murder with prior calculation and design, for which he
received a sentence of death. Defendant appealed.
Holdings: The Supreme Court, Pfeifer, J., held
(1) defendant was not entitled to have trial court weigh aggravating
circumstance without giving any consideration to facts surrounding
(2) denial of funds to defendant for him to undergo neuro-psychiatric
testing did not violate his due process rights;
(3) defendant's waiver of his right to jury trial was knowing and
(4) there was no plain error with respect to prosecutor's
introduction of evidence during penalty phase that defendant
celebrated anniversary of his killing of his prison cellmate;
(5) defense counsel did not render ineffective assistance;
(6) nature and circumstances of murder defendant's crime offered no
(7) defendant's cooperation with law enforcement in its
investigation and his plea of guilty to aggravated murder was
substantial mitigating factor; and
(8) imposition of death penalty was appropriate. Affirmed.
Between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. on November 15, 2001, defendant-appellant,
Christopher J. Newton, an inmate at the Mansfield Correctional
Institution (“MANCI”), beat and strangled his cellmate, Jason Brewer,
causing his death. A grand jury indicted Newton for the aggravated
murder of Brewer with prior calculation and design, R.C. 2903.01(A).
A single R.C. 2929.04(A)(4) death-penalty specification alleged that
Newton had committed the murder while he was under detention.
Newton waived a jury trial and elected to be
tried by a three-judge panel. Newton pleaded guilty as charged, and
the state presented evidence establishing his guilt as required by
R.C. 2945.06 and Crim.R. 11(C)(3). The panel found Newton guilty as
charged. Following a penalty-phase hearing, the panel imposed the
State's Guilt-Phase Evidence
In June 1992, Newton was sentenced to five to 15
years in prison for attempted aggravated burglary. Within a few
weeks of his release on parole in 1999, he broke into his father's
house. As a result, his parole was revoked, and he was sentenced to
an additional concurrent eight-to-15-year prison sentence. In August
1999, Newton told a mental-health professional that he was going to
kill someone in prison so that he could spend the rest of his life
On October 16, 2001, Newton, claiming that
another inmate had threatened to stab him, requested that he be
placed in protective custody. He was assigned to cell 115 with
Brewer in a section of MANCI reserved for inmates who request
special protection. Brewer was 27 years old, five feet, 11 inches
tall, and weighed 130 pounds. Newton was 32 years old, five feet, 11
inches tall, and weighed between 195 and 225 pounds.
On November 15, 2001, around 5:10 a.m., MANCI
correctional officers (“COs”) Gregory Ditmars, John Vesper, and
Shane Douglas responded to a disturbance in cell 115. Brewer was
lying still on the floor in a puddle of blood with a piece of orange
cloth wrapped around his neck.
Newton was laughing and had blood smeared all
over his face. MANCI nurse Trena Butcher testified that when she
examined Newton, he told her that he had “painted himself with the
victim's blood and had also ingested the victim's blood as part of
the ritual when you kill someone.”
MANCI nurse Diane Burson testified that when she
responded to cell 115, Brewer was not breathing and had no pulse.
Burson and responding paramedics worked diligently, and eventually
Brewer's heart began to beat. Ditmars testified that while medical
personnel were trying to save Brewer's life, Newton was laughing and
yelling, “ ‘Let him die. I killed him.’ ”
According to Douglas,
Newton said, “ ‘[F]uck that bitch [Brewer]. You might as well not
even work on him. He is already dead.’ ” Nurse Butcher recalls
Newton periodically shouting to the paramedics, “ ‘Stop, let the
fucker die.’ ” State Highway Patrol Trooper Doug Hamman described
Newton as singing, “ ‘[T]here is nothing like the taste of fresh
blood in the morning.’ ”
Newton told Ditmars that he had killed his
cellmate and had drunk his blood. Vesper recalled Newton's saying
that he had killed Brewer by choking him and beating his head on the
floor. Douglas testified that Newton said that he had hit Brewer
earlier that night and had seen the fear in his eyes and knew he was
going to kill Brewer before the night was over.
After paramedics established a heartbeat, Brewer
was taken to MedCentral Hospital, then flown to the Ohio State
University Medical Center, where he was declared brain dead around
2:30 p.m. After an autopsy, Dr. Dorothy Dean, a forensic pathologist,
concluded that Brewer had died from a ligature strangulation. Brewer
also suffered other injuries to his head and body consistent with
his having been kicked or stomped on.
After the assault, Newton told Lieutenant Hilbert
Mealey, a MANCI CO, that he had allowed Brewer to lie dead for an
hour in the cell because Newton knew that paramedics would try to
save his life. Newton told Mealey that he had more fun in prison
than on the outside. MANCI Lieutenant Joe Albert recalled that
Newton had seemed very happy and had repeatedly asked, “ ‘Did I kill
him? Is he dead?’ ” Newton also said, “[I]f he is not dead, I hope
he is going to be a vegetable.”
Although Albert did not want to interview him,
Newton was adamant about making a statement. Albert advised Newton
of his Miranda rights, and Newton waived them. Newton described how
he had choked and assaulted Brewer starting around 3:45 a.m. Using a
razor blade, Newton had cut a strip off an orange jumpsuit and had
used that strip to strangle Brewer.
In Newton's cell, COs found four letters
addressed to various prison officials, dated November 14, in which
Newton stated that he had lied to obtain protective custody. He
stated that his real reason for requesting protective custody was to
“take care of a little problem,” and the job was now done. Newton
authenticated the letters by his bloody fingerprints and referred to
himself as “Satan's Messenger, 666.”
On the morning of the murder, November 15,
Trooper Smith advised Newton of his Miranda rights, and Newton
signed a written waiver of those rights. Newton told Smith that
another inmate had hired him to beat up Brewer and that at around
10:00 p.m. the previous evening, while he and Brewer were playing
chess, they argued, and then he struck Brewer. They both stayed
awake, and Newton spent time making a rope so that he could strangle
Around 3:30 a.m., as Brewer was going to sleep,
Newton pulled Brewer out of bed and hit his head against the floor
and stomped on his head twice. Newton then strangled Brewer with the
rope he had made, until it broke. Newton punched Brewer in the face
a few times and then cut a strip off a prison jumpsuit and strangled
Brewer with it. Then Newton stomped on Brewer's head again.
Although Brewer begged, “Please don't kill me,”
Newton estimates that he stomped Brewer's head with his foot between
five and ten times. He also stomped on his throat and chest a few
times. After Newton finished assaulting Brewer, he smeared Brewer's
blood on his face and licked the blood off his hands.
After 30 minutes or so, he called to a CO and
said, “[W]elcome to the house of death!” Newton also stated that he
knew he would die in prison and hoped for the death penalty. On
November 18, Newton wrote an 11-page letter relating details of the
In a Highway Patrol interview on November 19,
2001, Newton admitted that he had lied in claiming that an inmate
had hired him to assault Brewer. He had never met or heard of Brewer
before they were placed in the cell together. Newton said that he
and Brewer had been sexually intimate, and that when he woke up
Brewer that night, he had said, “Jason, come here. I'm horny.”
According to Newton, Brewer ignored him, which made Newton angry.
Although Newton had already decided to kill Brewer, he said that he
“needed that kicker [the refusal] * * * to start, start the rage.”
At the guilt phase of the trial, Newton, after pleading guilty,
presented no evidence.
Defense Penalty-Phase Evidence
At the penalty phase, the defense asserted that
Newton's background and his mental illness were mitigating factors.
Newton's brother David Newton and his sister,
Lisa Newton, described Newton as the youngest of five sons and one
daughter born to Jean and Lynn Newton. Their parents worked opposite
shifts, and their mother operated an antique store and was also
Their parents communicated with each other only by
yelling or arguing. Their father was strict and imposed discipline
with a belt, but their permissive mother did not follow through on
punishments that had been imposed.
According to David, their father had little
patience with Newton, whom David described as a “lost and disturbed”
child with “bizarre” behavior. Newton was impulsive, and his very
few friends were “misfits.” Newton's mother spoiled the children and
was overprotective, particularly with Newton. Whenever Newton
misbehaved, their mother always blamed the other children.
The children used drugs and drank heavily. David
testified that he “was in fights continuously all through junior
high” and took drugs and drank heavily for years. But David admitted
that none of his other siblings were in prison and that they all
worked for a living.
Lisa describes the Newton family household as
constantly in turmoil, with verbal, physical, and mental abuse and
arguing. Their mother was very religious but very lenient, and their
father was very harsh, imposing discipline in the house by severely
whipping the children with a belt. Because their parents were
frequently absent, the children did whatever they wanted. Lisa also
testified that her father had abused her sexually when she was a
Newton was different from the other children when
he was growing up, and he started getting into trouble at a very
early age. When the family went on vacation, they left Newton to
stay with their grandmother. The other children called Newton “Pyro”
because he had set their home on fire when he was five or six years
old, causing the family to live elsewhere for six months.
Lisa claimed that because of her childhood, she
has been in counseling for many years. She admitted that despite
inconsistent parenting, their parents worked steadily and provided
food and shelter for their children. Their mother also tried to get
treatment for Newton at different facilities while he was growing
Between the ages of 13 and 15, Newton attended
the Barker Alternative School in Sandusky, Ohio, which educated
children with severe behavioral or emotional problems. Mary
Churchwell, then a teacher's aide at the alternative school,
recalled that Newton had been very impulsive and “thrived on being
different and * * * being the class clown, so he didn't form any
Newton also engaged in bizarre behavior and
laughed at inappropriate times. At times, Newton was withdrawn, and
at other times, he acted silly. Churchwell said that she had noticed
that Newton began to “pattern himself after another student who
claimed to believe in Satan worship.”
Toni Deluca, a counselor at the school, also
described Newton as “the class clown.” Although Newton was not
violent or physically aggressive, he never fit in with other
children. Newton's parents were not involved in his schooling, and
Churchwell and Deluca never met them. Newton left the school
suddenly in 1985.
Records at the Berea Children's Home, a juvenile-detention
facility, indicate that Newton, then 15 1/2 years old, was admitted
for residential treatment in May 1985 at the direction of the
juvenile court. The records note that Newton's “past behavior in
society was not only unacceptable but bizarre, threatening, and
aggressive. * * * His history of sexual acting out was of great
Newton was released to attend a regular high school six
months later, having “shown marked improvement.” His grades,
classroom behavior, anger, and interaction with peers had all
improved, and an aftercare plan had been developed with the
assistance of his parents.
Dr. Janice Ort, a clinical psychologist,
completed a psychological evaluation of Newton based on interviews,
testing, and a comprehensive review of relevant records. Dr. Ort
noted that Newton had been “socially, emotionally, and physically
immature” throughout his childhood.
She testified that according to Newton and his
siblings, Newton had been “spoiled rotten” by his mother, who
rescued him from any consequences for his acts. His father had been
physically abusive and perhaps sexually abusive.
At various times in his life, Newton claimed that
his father had sexually abused him, but at other times, he denied it.
Newton was also bullied by his older siblings. Newton told Ort that
he had been sexually abused by one of his brothers when he was five
and by a neighbor when he was 11.
While growing up, Newton developed severe
behavioral problems, including sexual acting out, theft, and drug
and alcohol abuse. The Berea Children's Home had identified him as a
very high-risk youth. Newton told Ort that as a teenager, he devoted
himself to satanic groups and activities.
In 1988, when Newton was
19, he was arrested in Florida for burglary and grand theft. In
1990, 1991, and 1992, he was arrested again for various offenses.
Newton was incarcerated from 1992 until 1999, was briefly out on
parole, and was then returned to prison.
According to Dr. Ort, Newton has an average IQ,
with tests indicating an overall IQ of 106. The Minnesota
Multiphasic Personality Inventory indicated that Newton has a
borderline-personality disorder. In Dr. Ort's view, the tests show
that Newton came from a “disruptive, chaotic, abusive, and identity
But Dr. Ort recognized that Newton is not a
reliable historian of his past. He often lies. For example, Newton
claimed to have killed 180 people in satanic rituals, he claimed
that his father had died (his father is still living), he falsely
claimed that while growing up, he had been playing Russian roulette
with a revolver when two children were killed, and in 1999, he
falsely reported a plot to explode a bomb at Times Square on New
Year's Eve. Dr. Ort conceded that over the years, particularly from
1995 to 1999, numerous psychiatrists and psychologists had diagnosed
Newton with a variety of psychiatric and mental disorders.
Nonetheless, Dr. Ort concluded that Newton was a
malingerer. Her conclusion was based on current psychological test
data, the observations of mental-health professionals over seven
years, and Newton's own admissions that he had falsely reported
hearing voices or other psychotic symptoms. Dr. Ort said that, at
times, Newton may have attempted to downplay his problems, since he
does not want to be seen by others as “damaged” or mentally ill.
According to Dr. Ort, a Rorschach test indicated
that Newton has a “significant affective disturbance [which is]
basically a mood disorder typically characterized by depression
symptoms or symptoms of mania.” Dr. Ort also diagnosed Newton as
suffering from polysubstance abuse, a condition that is in complete
remission due to Newton's controlled environment; symptoms of
posttraumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”); and a personality disorder
with borderline, antisocial, and narcissistic features.
In Dr. Ort's view, these conditions collectively
represent a severe mental disorder. Newton also has a history of
suicide attempts and self-mutilation. But Dr. Ort agreed that Newton
does not have a thought disorder and displays no psychotic symptoms
At the defense's request, the court accepted into
evidence voluminous institutional records relating to Newton. These
include a report on a physical and mental examination in September
1999 at the Massillon Psychiatric Center, psychiatric treatment
notes for 1992 and 1995 through 2002, medical records from Newton's
July 2002 hospital stay for a drug overdose and attempted suicide,
hospitalization records from November 28, 2002, to December 2, 2002,
for a drug overdose, and psychiatric treatment records for December
6, 2002, to January 3, 2003, from the Oakwood Correctional Facility.
At least two items are noteworthy.
In February 2001, Dr. Arthur Keith, a prison
psychiatrist, concluded that Newton was not seriously mentally ill,
but was malingering. He diagnosed Newton as having an antisocial-personality
disorder and a substance-abuse disorder that was in remission. Dr.
Keith found that Newton had no mental illness that would reduce his
responsibility for his misconduct and that no mental-health services
or medication was required.
Further, the diagnosis of Newton on his discharge
from Oakwood in January 2003 was major depression, recurrent, but in
remission; PTSD; polysubstance dependence; and a personality
disorder (with antisocial traits). The Oakwood records reflect
Newton's admission that “he never really had hallucinations and he
certainly did not have them at this time.”
Prosecution's Penalty-Phase Rebuttal Evidence
Carol Mull, a licensed independent social worker
at MANCI, has known Newton for several years. Mull testified that
Newton, throughout his incarceration, has repeatedly claimed to be
mentally ill, but then he would later “recant and say he had told us
different things * * * because he wanted to fake a mental illness in
order to achieve something else.”
He liked the psychiatric-treatment
unit better than regular prison. He has frequently claimed to hear
voices, and he is attention-seeking and manipulative. Mull said that
Newton has been refusing medication since December 1999.
She also testified that Newton appears to derive
pleasure from his notoriety over the murder and continually asks for
a cellmate. She said that Newton had been involved in a prison
dog-training program before October 2001 and during that time he was
very well behaved, stable, and not on medication. Newton currently
takes no medication and is stable, and Mull described him as “always
smiling and laughing.”
Dr. Miles Oden, a board-certified psychiatrist
employed at MANCI, evaluated Newton in December 2001, three weeks
after the murder. Oden noted that Newton had a history of
psychiatric treatment because he had reported auditory
But Oden testified that Newton had later admitted
that he had fabricated symptoms “so he could obtain psychotropic
medications, which made him feel high.” Oden also said that Newton
admitted that he has a habit of telling lies and then he starts to
believe his lies after a period of time.
When Dr. Oden examined Newton in December 2001,
Newton was in good health. His thoughts were orderly and his mood
was good. He showed no evidence of psychosis, no bipolar condition,
and no mood disorder. In Dr. Oden's view, Newton had no significant
mental illness that was present at the time of the murder.
Although Newton is at risk for self-destructive
behavior, Dr. Oden found no reason to treat him with any medication.
Dr. Oden also found no evidence that Newton had a thought disorder
or psychosis or any difficulty understanding reality.
However, Dr. Oden did diagnose Newton as
suffering from polysubstance dependence in remission and a mixed
personality disorder with antisocial and borderline traits. In Dr.
Oden's view, Newton's personality disorder explains his erratic
Dr. Oden noted that when he saw Newton in
December 2001, Newton seemed proud of the murder that he had
committed three weeks earlier and took “a certain amount of gruesome
pleasure at his notoriety.”
When Dr. Oden saw Newton on the
anniversary of the murder, November 15, 2002, Newton had made a
party hat and a blowout toy to celebrate the anniversary. Dr. Oden
reported that Newton appeared happy and was wearing the hat and
making jokes about celebrating the anniversary of the murder.
Defense counsel cross-examined Dr. Oden about
Newton's medical records from November 1995 to May 2000, which
reflected repeated placements in psychiatric-treatment units and
past diagnoses of serious mental illnesses such as a schizoaffective
disorder, bipolar disorder, a mood disorder, and PTSD. Dr. Oden,
however, believed that Newton could have fooled the mental-health
professionals who made these diagnoses.
Dr. Oden noted that the diagnoses were based on
Newton's false reports of symptoms such as auditory hallucinations.
In fact, Newton has a well-documented history of malingering and
falsely reporting hallucinations. Further, Newton functioned well as
a dog handler in 2001 without any medication, and that fact negated
finding a schizoaffective disorder.
Dr. Renee Sorrentino, a forensic psychiatrist,
examined Newton's mental-health and prison records in depth. Dr.
Sorrentino summarized in a comprehensive report Newton's history in
various institutions, Dr. Ort's findings, and her own conclusions
regarding Newton's mental state. Dr. Sorrentino asked to interview
Newton, but was refused access by Newton's attorneys.
In Dr. Sorrentino's view, any earlier diagnosis
that Newton suffered from a schizoaffective disorder “was not
correct * * * because * * * Newton did not have auditory
hallucinations. He made them up.” She explained that a
schizoaffective disorder is not curable and does not go away.
Further, Dr. Sorrentino concluded that Newton does not have
sufficient symptoms to support a diagnosis of a PTSD. Nor do
Newton's records reflect criteria to find a major depressive
Dr. Sorrentino's report indicates that she is
unclear on the meaning of Dr. Ort's diagnosis of a “mood disorder
overlaying * * * a personality disorder.” Dr. Sorrentino believes
that Newton's mood symptoms are characteristics of his personality
In Dr. Sorrentino's opinion, Newton was never
psychotic, never lost touch with reality, and has no symptoms of
psychosis. In fact, psychological testing indicated “no psychotic
process, no impaired reality.” Dr. Sorrentino believes that the
earlier diagnosis of a bipolar disorder was simply incorrect because
Newton made up symptoms.
Newton admitted to Dr. Ort that he had read
psychology texts and case studies in order to discover how to fake
symptoms of mental illness. Further, Dr. Sorrentino said that the
way that Newton described hearing voices was simply “not
characteristic of what psychotic patients experience.”
Dr. Sorrentino did agree that Newton has a
polysubstance-abuse disorder, which is in full remission because he
is in a controlled environment, a documented history of malingering
of auditory hallucinations and suicidal intent (although sometimes
he actually is suicidal), and an antisocial-personality disorder and
Dr. Sorrentino also noted that antisocial-personality
disorder occurs in 60 to 70 percent of male prisoners, substance-abuse
disorder occurs in 85 percent of male prisoners, and borderline-personality
disorder appears in about 60 percent of male prisoners.
Newton now appeals to our court as a matter of
right and presents nine propositions of law for our consideration.
We find no merit in any of his propositions. Hence, we affirm the
findings of guilt. We have independently weighed the aggravating
circumstance against the mitigating factors and have considered the
appropriateness of the death sentence. For the reasons that follow,
we affirm the judgment of the trial court, including the death
INDEPENDENT SENTENCE EVALUATION
After evaluating the evidence, we find that the
evidence proves the aggravating circumstance specified in the
indictment, namely, R.C. 2929.04(A)(4), that when Newton killed
Brewer, Newton was under “detention” as defined in R.C. 2921.01.
Newton was an inmate in MANCI, a “public * * * facility for custody
of persons * * * convicted of crime in this state.” R.C. 2921.01(E).
As to mitigating evidence, we find that the
nature and circumstances of the offense offer no mitigating features.
Newton brutally murdered his cellmate by beating and strangling him,
and Newton did so after planning the murder. In fact, he had
expressed his intention to kill another inmate long before this
crime. Newton did not express any particular grievance against
Brewer. After he viciously assaulted Brewer, Newton urged paramedics
not to attempt to revive his cellmate.
In contrast, we find that Newton's history and
background provide some modest mitigating features. Newton's parents
did not provide the nurture and guidance that he needed to grow into
a mature, stable adult. Thus, in Dr. Ort's view, Newton had a
“disruptive, chaotic, abusive, and identity damaging childhood.”
Newton's father was unduly harsh, his mother was
overprotective, and Newton developed severe behavioral problems as a
child and adolescent. Unfortunately, Newton's life as an adult does
not merit favorable consideration, since Newton, except for a few
weeks in 1999, was in prison for nine years before this offense. But
while in prison, Newton did earn a GED certificate and participate
in an honors program that prepares dogs for adoption. We find
nothing else in Newton's character that warrants favorable
Newton did not establish by credible evidence
that he suffered from a “mental disease or defect” such that he
“lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of * * *
[his] conduct or to conform [his] conduct to the requirements of the
law.” R.C. 2929.04(B)(3).
Newton has a well-documented and admitted history
as a malingerer. He has falsified psychiatric symptoms so as to
appear to have a serious mental disorder in order to receive special
treatment and psychotropic drugs.
Dr. Ort, Newton's principal witness, conceded
this at trial. Carol Mull, a licensed social worker who has known
Newton for several years, described his repeated faking of mental
illness. Dr. Oden and Dr. Sorrentino both confirmed that Newton
repeatedly feigned mental illness.
Newton even read psychology texts and case
studies in order to convincingly fake symptoms. Because of his
documented history of malingering, we regard past diagnoses of
psychiatric disorders in his medical records to be of negligible
None of the experts who testified at trial
described Newton as exhibiting psychotic symptoms:
Dr. Ort testified that nothing in her interviews
with and tests of Newton supported the view that Newton is psychotic.
Newton demonstrated an ability to perceive events, interpret the
actions of others without distortion, and anticipate the
consequences of his actions.
(2) When Dr. Oden interviewed Newton in December
2001, within a month of the murder, Newton was coherent, his
thoughts were orderly, and his mood was good. He did not exhibit
signs of psychosis, psychotic delusions, PTSD, thought disorder,
mood disorder, or a bipolar condition. In Dr. Oden's opinion,
Newton's problems “related more to his personality disorder than
anything else,” and Newton did not have “any significant mental
illness that was present at the time of the murder.”
(3) Dr. Sorrentino concluded that Newton “never
was psychotic or lost touch with reality” and “has no symptoms of
psychosis.” Further, Dr. Sorrentino found that the psychological
testing that was conducted “supports [finding] no psychotic process,
no impaired reality testing.”
The expert witnesses agreed on the following: (1)
Newton abused various drugs when they were available to him, i.e.,
when he was not in prison; (2) although Newton has displayed some
symptoms of posttraumatic stress, PTSD was not established; and (3)
Newton suffers from a personality disorder.
Dr. Ort described this as a “Personality Disorder,
whose features include Antisocial, Narcissistic, and Borderline
traits.” Dr. Oden described it as a mixed personality disorder with
antisocial and borderline traits. According to Dr. Sorrentino,
Newton has an antisocial-personality disorder with “borderline
traits.” Newton's medical records also confirm his personality
The evidence at trial does not support a
diagnosis of serious psychiatric problems. Dr. Ort did assert that
Newton suffers from a mood disorder. But according to Dr. Sorrentino,
Newton's mood symptoms are simply characteristics of his personality
Thus, Dr. Sorrentino testified that “the mood
symptoms, the sadness, the periods of feeling depressed arise from
Mr. Newton's personality disorder.” Dr. Oden found no evidence of a
mood disorder and concluded that Newton's personality disorder
explains a lot of his erratic behavior.
We therefore accord no mitigating weight under
We do not find that the evidence supports any
other statutory mitigating factors from R.C. 2929.04(B)(1) through
(B)(6). As to “other factors,” R.C. 2929.04(B)(7), Newton's
cooperation with the Highway Patrol in its investigation of the
murder and his plea of guilty to the offense as charged represents,
substantial mitigating factors. As we noted in State v. Ashworth
(1999), 85 Ohio St.3d 56, 72, 706 N.E.2d 1231, “guilty pleas are
traditionally accorded substantial weight in imposing a sentence.”
We also find that Newton's history of depression,
his substance-abuse problems, and his antisocial- or borderline-personality
disorder are relevant mitigating factors. Cf. State v. Stojetz, 84
Ohio St.3d at 472, 705 N.E.2d 329 (paranoid schizoid personality
with antisocial tendencies and PTSD entitled to “modest mitigating
weight”). We find no evidence of any other mitigating factors under
After weighing the aggravating circumstance
against the collective mitigating evidence, we have concluded beyond
a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstance outweighs the
mitigation. Killing another while an inmate is a very grave
When weighed against the mitigating factors here,
that aggravating circumstance outweighs Newton's mitigation evidence
beyond any reasonable doubt. Newton has demonstrated that he is a
menace to the life, health, and safety of others even when he is in
protective custody in a maximum-security prison. We find the death
Moreover, we find that imposing the death penalty
in this case is proportionate when compared with other aggravated
murders by inmates in which the defendants were sentenced to death.
See, e.g ., State v. Sanders (2001), 92 Ohio St.3d 245, 750 N.E.2d
90; State v. Stojetz, 84 Ohio St.3d 452, 705 N.E.2d 329; State v.
Zuern (1987), 32 Ohio St.3d 56, 512 N.E.2d 585.
Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the common