Prosecutors, defense argue over jury picking for Diar resentencing
Filed by Cindy Leise January 26th, 2010 in Top Stories.
ELYRIA — Prosecutors filed court documents Monday in preparation for the resentencing of Nicole Diar, whose death sentence in the killing of her 4-year-old son was overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court in December 2008.
Visiting Judge Judith Cross will preside over the new sentencing hearing that is expected to involve a new jury.
The documents filed Monday by prosecutors opposed the request from the defense that Cross permit the defense and prosecution to conduct individual questioning of prospective jury members.
Instead, the documents filed by Assistant Prosecutor Tony Cillo requested the court permit individual sequestered questioning only on the issues of publicity, the death penalty, mental illness and insanity, other sensitive areas and other prejudicial matters.
The court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Diar, 34, who had been on death row since a jury recommended the death sentence to now-deceased county Common Pleas Judge Kosma Glavas, who sentenced her to death.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that Glavas erred when he failed to issue what’s known as the “solitary juror” instruction to jurors.
Such an instruction, which Diar’s trial attorney, Jack Bradley, had asked for, would have effectively told jurors that any one of them could have stopped the death penalty from being imposed and forced their fellow jurors to consider a life sentence instead.
The Supreme Court upheld Diar’s 2005 conviction on aggravated murder and other charges in the 2003 killing of her son, Jacob. Diar also was convicted of setting her Lorain home on fire to cover up the crime.
Diar, who was burned when she was a child when her nightgown caught fire, repeatedly denied that she had anything to do the her son’s death.
“I didn’t kill my son. I couldn’t show remorse for something I didn’t do,” she told Glavas during the sentencing hearing. “I can handle sitting in prison for something I did, but I didn’t do this.”
Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will has said he will push for the death penalty again based on “the circumstances of the crime, the method of death and the age of the victim.”