Serial killer Kirkland resentenced

Hamilton County Prosecutor Deters satisfied, but words on faith questioned

Photo courtesy of | Serial killer Anthony Kirkland (far left) was re-sentenced to death on Aug. 27. Kirkland was convicted for the murders of five women between 1987 and 2009. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (right) began litigation for re-sentencing him after the initial death sentenced was overturned. 

Prosecutor Joe Deters said after serial killer Anthony Kirkland was re-sentenced to death on Aug. 27. that it “can’t be imposed fast enough.” At the same time, Deters prompted questions from the Vatican about his ability to separate words relating his faith to his job.

Deters, a St. Xavier alum, called the initial re-sentencing “total nonsense” on July 17 .
“He killed five girls, two of which were 13 and 14 years old, respectively, and if the death penalty is not applicable to Anthony Kirkland, I don’t know who the person would be that should get it,” Deters said.

Kirkland was initially given the death sentence for the murders of 13-year-old Esme Kenney and 14-year-old Casonya Crawford.

The sentence was overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court, prompting the re-sentencing.
Deters then later responded to a Pope Francis decree earlier in August that the death penalty is “inadmissible” under all circumstances and the Catholic Church must work to abolish it. Deters said he believes the new policy is misguided.

Rev. Paul Mueller, the vice director and superior of the Jesuit community at the Vatican Observatory outside Rome, responded in a private letter that he was “Disappointed, embarrassed, and scandalized that you, not only a Catholic but also a fellow alumnus of St. Xavier High School, have used the platform of your public office to oppose and confuse the moral teaching of the Church in so open a fashion.”

Mueller was a freshman at the same time Deters was a senior, but Deters said he does not recall him. Mueller’s letter did not change Deters’ mind on the issue.
Mueller responded publicly in the Cincinnati Enquirer, saying, “I am surprised that my letter, which was sent as a private communication to Deters, came into your hands. But since it has been made public, I would like to state my central point more clearly and explicitly.”

He went on to clarify that the point of his letter was to “encourage Deters, when he is speaking as prosecutor, to stick to prosecuting and avoid getting into Catholic counter-catechesis.”

Prior to the re-sentencing, Kirkland had pled guilty to manslaughter for the murder of his girlfriend in 1987 and served a 16-year prison sentence.

After being released on parole in 2004, he murdered four more people, two women and two teenagers between 2006 and 2009. He was convicted in 2010, and was sentenced to two life terms for the killings of the adult women.

Kirkland’s execution date is set for March 7, 2019.

By: Jack Dunn | U.S. & World News Editor