According to court documents Anthony Kirkland was released from prison where he spent time for a murder committed when the victim denied his advances. Once out of prison Anthony would murder four women in a three year time period
Leola Douglas, age 27, killed May 20, 1987
Casonya Crawford, age 14, murdered May 4, 2006
Mary Jo Newton, age 45, murdered June 14, 2006
Kimya Rolison, age 25, murdered December 22, 2006
Esme Kenney, age 13, murdered March 7, 2009.
Anthony Kirland would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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After ordering a second sentencing hearing for a man convicted of murdering two teenage girls and two women, the Ohio Supreme Court today affirmed the death sentence imposed for Anthony Kirkland.
Kirkland killed Esme Kenney, 13, Casonya Crawford, 14, Kimya Rolison, 25 and Mary Jo Newton, 45, between 2006 and 2009.
Kirkland strangled three of his victims and burned each of their bodies, telling police in his 8-hour police confession “Fire purifies.”
He was sentenced to life in prison for the women’s murders and then sentenced to death for what he did to the girls.
The Ohio Supreme Court tossed out the death sentence and ordered the re-sentencing due to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters’s statements made during closing arguments.
They said prosecutors may have been prejudicial in remarks to the jury about Esme and Casonya’s killings.
Deters told jurors Kirkland deserved to die.
Esme and Casonya, he told jurors, shouldn’t be “freebies.”
Deters released the following comment on the Ohio Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to uphold the conviction of Kirkland.
”I am pleased that the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously upheld the conviction of serial killer Anthony Kirkland.
Kirkland was responsible for the murder of 4 young women in this case and had previously killed another woman.
We are very careful in my office about the cases that we present as death penalty eligible. I instruct my assistants that we only consider the “worst of the worst” cases for the death penalty and proof must be beyond dispute. We do not make this decision lightly and only seek the death penalty in cases such as this where the facts are beyond horrific and the proof well beyond the reasonable doubt standard.
I do not seek the death penalty often but when I do, in cases such as Kirkland, it is appropriate. There are some progressive prosecutors around the country who vow never to seek the death penalty, instead preferring to house and feed criminals such as Kirkland for the rest of their life. Kirkland murdered 5 women and, if ever released from prison, would not hesitate to kill again.”
In all, Kirkland has now been convicted of killing a total of five females.
He served 16 years in prison for the 1987 killing of Leola Douglas after she spurned his sexual advances.
He also set her on fire.
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Anthony Kirkland, in his 49 years on earth, killed three women and two teenage girls.
On Tuesday, when sentencing Kirkland for the deaths of 13-year-old Esme Kenney and 14-year-old Casonya Crawford, Hamilton County Judge Patrick Dinkelacker told Kirkland he had no regard for human life and imposed the death penalty.
So, in determining whether a life prison term or the death penalty was an appropriate sentence, Dinkelacker imposed the death penalty.
“If not you, Mr. Kirkland, then who?” thje judge said.
Dinkelacker gave Kirkland an opportunity to speak on his behalf, prompting Kirkland to offer a diatribe on his prison money woes, which was not what the judge had in mind.
“It makes me sick to my stomach that you will talk about money in prison when you killed two teenage girls,” Dinkelacker told him.
More than a half dozen deputies flanked Kirkland during the sentencing. Members of Esme’s family, though not her parents who no longer live in Cincinnati, quietly watched the sentencing. Casonya’s grandmother and mother attended as well.
“He is a monster,” Patricia Crawford, Casonya’s grandmother, said of Kirkland after the sentencing.
Kirkland, 49, was sentenced for murdering Casonya in 2006 and Esme in 2009. He’s already serving life prison terms for the deaths of Mary Jo Newton, 45 and Kimya Rolison, 25, both in 2006. Kirkland served a 16-year prison term for killing Leona Douglas, 28, in 1989.
Kirkland was released for from prison in the 1989 killing in 2003. He killed the four women and girls before police caught up to him in 2009 after he kidnapped and killed Esme near her Winton Hills home.
Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier praised everyone involved in capturing Kirkland. He singled out Cincinnati Police K-9 Officer Jenny Ernst, who took it upon herself to look for Esme shortly after she went missing, and even though police were skeptical at first that something bad had happened. He also mentioned detectives Keith Witherall and Bill Hilvert, who spent hours coaxing a confession out of Kirkland.
Kirkland was previously sentenced to death for killing the teenagers, but the Ohio Supreme Court overturned the sentence saying Deters’ statements during closing arguments “were improper and substantially prejudicial” when he said Kirkland was already serving life prison terms and that Esme and Casonya’s deaths should not be “freebies.”
Deters sought the death penalty again, resulting in a two-week hearing last month with a new jury.
Kirkland’s lawyers argued their client was physically, sexually and mentally abused as a child, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder that left him at times unaware of what he was doing. Their plea for Kirkland was life in prison.
Jurors disagreed, returning the death recommendation in 2½ hours.
Deters said after sentencing the death sentence “can’t be imposed fast enough.” Dinkelacker set the execution for March 7, 2019, exactly 10 years after Esme’s death. But appeals will likely delay it.
As Anthony Kirkland left the courtroom he made one last comment to the judge.
Kirkland: “Have a nice life.”
Dinkelacker: “You too.