State briefs


Court weighs sentence of woman on death row

COLUMBUS (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has again considered a challenge by the state’s only condemned female killer of her death sentence.

The high court has twice sent Donna Roberts’ case back to Trumbull County court in northeastern Ohio for resentencing.

The 72-year-old Roberts was sentenced to death for a third time in 2014. The Supreme Court heard her new appeal Tuesday.

In the past, the court said that a prosecutor improperly helped prepare a sentencing motion in Roberts’ case and that a judge hadn’t fully considered factors that could argue against a death sentence.

Roberts was accused of planning her ex-husband’s murder with a boyfriend in hopes of collecting insurance money.

The boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, also was sentenced to death in the 2001 slaying.

Kasich to newspaper editors: ‘I want you to survive’

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he wants to see the state’s newspaper industry survive and thrive.

The Republican governor told the Ohio Newspaper Association’s convention Wednesday that the job of journalists is difficult but valuable to the state and nation.

His remarks to editors and publishers come as tensions are high between government and the media. Kasich made an unsuccessful run for president last year and later declined to endorse, vote for or support President Donald Trump, a vocal critic of the news media.

Besides press issues, Kasich said he wants to change attitudes toward the state by emphasizing its growing number of knowledge-based jobs over Ohio’s reputation as a Rust Belt state.

Judge won’t lift order delaying executions

COLUMBUS — A federal judge has refused to lift his order delaying Ohio’s executions after declaring the state’s new lethal injection process unconstitutional.

Magistrate Judge Michael Merz last month rejected Ohio’s use of a sedative used in problematic executions in Arizona and Ohio.

The judge also barred Ohio from using drugs that paralyze inmates and stop their hearts.

Attorneys for Ohio’s prison system asked the judge to lift the order, saying his decision would likely be overturned on appeal.

Merz stood by his ruling in a written opinion Tuesday. He said the state is overstating the significance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year regarding the permissibility of the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY’-zoh-lam).

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear the case Feb. 21.

Gas prices remain low

COLUMBUS — Gas prices in Ohio remain relatively low compared with the rest of the country as the week gets underway.

The average for a gallon of regular fuel in Ohio was about $2.07 in Monday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. Only Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee had lowers averages.

Ohio’s average was down from $2.40 a month ago but still significantly higher than a year ago, when drivers were paying just $1.53.

The national average Monday was $2.27, about the same as last week but up from $1.75 at this time last year.

AAA says the national average decreased daily for three weeks in January, amid increased crude oil production and lower driving demand.

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