Pictured: Bret Hartman Akron, Ohio Death Row Inmate set to die tonight
Ohio is set to execute a man on Tuesday who claims he is innocent of stabbing a woman 138 times, slitting her throat and cutting off her hands.
Brett Hartman, a convicted killer who admitted to having sex with Winda Snipes early on the morning of Sept. 9, 1997 at her Akron apartment, claims that when he went back to Snipes’ apartment later that day, found her mutilated body and panicked before trying to clean up the mess and calling 911.
While Hartman still maintains his innocence, he has been found guilty by numerous courts over the years.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal by Hartman on Monday.
Reports indicate that the convicted killer asked the high court on his appeal that he be allowed to renew arguments that his original attorneys did a bad job presenting evidence that could have led a jury to spare him.
Hartman came within about a week of execution in 2009 before federal courts allowed him to pursue an innocence claim. The claim failed before he had a new date set last year. That date was eventually postponed due to a federal lawsuit over Ohio’s execution policy.
Three separate efforts for clemency on Hartman’s part have been denied by the Ohio Parole Board, which cited the brutality of the Snipes’ slaying and the “overwhelming evidence” of Hartman’s guilt.
A long held argument by Hartman’s attorneys has been that crucial evidence from the crime scene and Snipes’ body both have never been tested. The argument essentially raises questions about Hartman’s innocence.
According to the AP, the evidence includes fingerprints allegedly found on a clock and a mop handle. Hartman also argues the evidence could implicate an alternate suspect.
The AP further reports that Hartman’s attorneys say their clients behavior in prison has been exemplary and shows he is a changed man. They cite his devotion to religious studies, his development as an artist and community service projects in prison.
Hartman would be the 49th inmate put to death since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.
The death row inmate slept for about three hours early Tuesday, spoke on the phone with a friend, then visited with an aunt, a sister and another friend Tuesday morning, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told reporters.
He ate most of his last meal Monday, including steak, baked potato and fried shrimp, then declined breakfast Tuesday, Smith said.