The backs of four people at a vigil outside one holding a sign that says Ohioans Oppose the Death Penalty

The two most recently scheduled Ohio executions were not carried out, and it’s starting to look like a fair bet the next one won’t happen either. In November, a failed execution attempt ended with Alva Campbell returned to his cell. In January, a juror raised questions about information withheld during the sentencing of Raymond Tibbetts, prompting the governor to order a new clemency hearing. In April, Ohio plans the execution of a man who may actually be innocent.

William T. Montgomery has been on Ohio’s death row for over 31 years for the 1986 murders of Cynthia Tincher and Debra Ogle in Lucas County (Toledo). He has always maintained his innocence from the time of his arrest. This case features the classic hallmarks of wrongful convictions: jailhouse informant, prosecutorial misconduct, hidden exculpatory evidence and leniency to a co-defendant in exchange for testimony.

Montgomery’s co-defendant does not deny a role in the murders, but Glover Heard’s testimony is what put Montgomery on death row. Heard gave multiple accounts of what happened. It was not until the fifth version of his story that he implicated Montgomery. Heard was in possession of one victim’s belongings, and the other victim’s car was found in the alley behind the co-defendant’s home.

Most of the evidence raising doubts today was developed after the original trial was completed in 1986. In 2007 a new trial was ordered because prosecutors had suppressed evidence and eyewitness accounts which pointed away from Montgomery. The state appealed and in 2009 the ruling for a new trial was upheld by a panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The state appealed again and in 2011 the order granting a new trial was overturned by the full 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, with five justices dissenting.

More new evidence was developed in 2012 when a forensic review of the autopsy of one victim debunked the state’s theory of the case, casting more doubt about the accuracy of the conviction.

Appeals are not about the facts of the case. Appeals examine questions of due process according to law. Once the trial is over, newly discovered evidence is legally irrelevant unless a trial court is ordered to consider it. No court has ever considered the totality of the evidence currently available in the Montgomery case.

There is too much doubt about his guilt to execute William T. Montgomery. He may even be innocent. Please join Ohioans to Stop Executions and its allies in calling upon Governor Kasich to not allow the execution of William T. Montgomery to go forward. Learn more, see case documentation, and take action at  Please also call Governor Kasich at 855-782-6925 to ask him to stop the execution of William T. Montgomery.

Abraham J. Bonowitz is Amnesty International’s State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Ohio. He works with Ohioans to Stop Executions and is co-director of