April 18, 2014
Arthur Tyler, who has been on Ohio’s death row 3 decades for the murder of a produce vendor during a robbery in Cleveland, has asked the Ohio Parole Board to commute his sentence to life in prison with a chance of parole.
The parole board will hold a clemency hearing April 24 to hear Tyler’s pleas. The board will make a recommendation to Gov. John Kasich, who will ultimately decide Tyler’s fate.
He is scheduled to be executed May 28.
Tyler’s case has been controversial because he was 1 of 2 people convicted in the killing of Sanders Leach, but the only one sentenced to die. And there are questions as to who actually pulled the trigger.
Tyler’s co-defendant, Leroy Head, confessed almost immediately. Head admitted to police, family and friends that he shot Leach in a struggle for the gun during the March 1983 robbery attempt, according to court records.
He signed a confession, but later changed his story, telling prosecutors that Tyler fired the gun.
Tyler was convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery and sentenced to die. Head pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to prison. He was released in 2008.
Tyler’s lawyers, in a brief filed with the parole board, said Tyler recognizes he shares responsibility for Leach’s death. But they urge clemency be granted, commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment with parole eligibility.
“Ideally, Arthur Tyler should be granted parole and released from prison for time served, they wrote. “As we will demonstrate, Arthur Tyler did not shoot Mr. Leach. Head falsely testified against Mr. Tyler in order to save himself from the death penalty.”