Trimble death sentence upheld
Colin McEwen and Marc Kovac Published: July 1, 2009 4:00AM
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence of James Trimble, who shot and killed three people in Brimfield in January 2005 in what the justices called a “horrific crime.”
Among Trimble’s 15 allegations of legal and procedural errors — all of which were denied — was that Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow should have moved the proceedings from Ravenna because of prejudicial pretrial publicity.
On Jan. 21, 2005, Trimble murdered his girlfriend, Renee Bauer, and her 7-year-old son, Dakota Bauer, in the home they shared.
Trimble then fled into nearby woods. Shortly thereafter, he broke into the home of Kent State University student Sarah Positano and took her hostage. Trimble then shot 22-year-old student in the neck and killed her after a standoff with the SWAT team.
He admitted killing all three victims but said Positano’s death was accidental and evidence did not prove he committed the crimes with prior calculation and design.
Trimble was convicted on three counts of aggravated murder in what was the longest trial in the history of the county. He was sentenced to death in November 2005.
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer acknowledged considerable media coverage leading up to the trial, but opined that it did not affect the outcome.
The state’s high court rejected all 15 allegations of legal or procedural errors made by James Trimble, now 48, who sought to have his sentence reduced to life in prison.
“We find nothing in the nature and circumstances of the offense to be mitigating,” Moyer wrote in the court’s decision.
He added later, “In contrast, we find that as to each of these counts, Trimble’s mitigating evidence has little significance. Therefore, we find that the death sentence in this case is appropriate.”
The defense also argued that the Portage County Court was erroneous in allowing Trimble’s 19 firearms to be presented to the jury.
“While it is highly questionable whether the trial court should have allowed this evidence to be displayed before the jury in court or during deliberations, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in doing so,” Moyer wrote. “Even assuming that these exhibits should not have been displayed, any error was harmless. As previously discussed, overwhelming evidence was presented at trial that established Trimble’s guilt of the three murders. Moreover, during the penalty phase, the trial court excluded the firearms found in the basement.”
Trimble is on death row in the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.
Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigluicci, who once called the case “probably the most horrible crime committed in the history of my county,” said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“We’re obviously pleased that they upheld the conviction,” he said. “I am somewhat troubled by the amount of time these appeals take. And there are more appeals to come. We’re going to continue to vigorously pursue the imposition of this sentence.”
When asked if he would appeal to the federal court system, Trimble’s defense attorney Lawrence Whitney answered “certainly.”
He declined to comment further.www.recordpub.comTrimble's September 29, 2009 execution date was stayed pending state post-conviction proceedings including any appeals. When those are exhausted he can take his claims to the federal courts which can take up to another ten years. The average stay on Ohio's DR until execution is around 20 years. I'm afraid you have quite a wait in front of you.