The execution of Johnnie Roy Baston
When I read that Ohio had executed Johnnie Roy Baston (1974-2011) today , I search the internet for more information about him. And I found the ad he placed on a Prisoner’s Personal Pen Pal WebPages called Prisonerlife.com It described itself as “An open and uncensored forum networking prisoner, prisons and the world.” And what an awful feeling I had when I read Baston’s Pen Pal Ad on this website especially after the Ohio had executed him today. But what had most sadden me more was when he mentioned his children. He wrote,
“I am also the father of two eight year olds; Jordan and Asziah (Asia).” Baston was an accomplished artist from the drawing he submitted along with his ad. I found this information about his artistic talents interesting since it was never mentioned in the news about his execution circulating the internet, blogs and all the major media outlets. This case is very disturbing more so because it happened to a black man involved in a crime barely out his teenage years just turn 20. What’s troubling about his case is the family of the victim he robbed and killed asked that his sentenced be commuted to life in prison without parole, something that the courts and all the folks involved in prosecuting and investigating this case ignored. Why?
The Death Penalty News blog wrote, “Johnnie Batson’s clemency petition points to the case of another defendant who was tried in the same county (Lucas County) for a comparable crime in 1994 (shooting of a store manager at close range during a robbery) and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The petition also pointed to the disproportionate number of death sentences passed against black defendants in Lucas County. Of the 21 death sentences passed there since 1981, in 16 cases the defendant was black, and in four cases white.” Also, great coverage and commentary on the case from Death Watch Star Doll.