Defense attorneys for convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland quit the case

WCPOPublished: November 13, 2017
Published: November 13, 2017

An angry prosecutor Joe Deters is blaming a public defender in Columbus for interfering in the resentencing case of serial killer Anthony Kirkland and forcing two defense attorneys to quit. Jury selection was supposed to begin Thursday, but instead, attorneys Perry Ancona and Norm Aubin told Judge Patrick Dinkelacker that they had to withdraw. Deters was riled because the attorneys revealed that Rachel Troutman from the Ohio Public Defenders Office had advised Kirkland that she was trying to get Aubin taken off the case. Kirkland was originally sentenced to death for killing 13-year-old SCPA student Esme Kenney and 14-year-old Casonya Crawford in 2009 and 2006, respectively, and burning their bodies. According to Ancona, Troutman talked to Kirkland about his attorneys in two phone calls. "We're placed in the ridiculous situation this morning here," Ancona told the judge. Ancona said prosecutors just this week gave him and Aubin CDs of Kirkland's conversations with Troutman. They were calls Kirkland made from the Justice Center almost a year ago on Dec. 15, 2016 and last month on Oct. 10. "A person he referred to as Rachael Troutman on Dec. 15, 2016, indicated and said she has been working behind the scenes to get rid of Mr. Aubin - get him off the case," Ancona said in court. In the second call last month, Troutman used an expletive to describe the two attorneys. “This person said that Norm and Perry may not necessarily do a good job explaining how Anthony got where he is. I think that's clearly undermining our efforts to work on his behalf,” Ancona said. Kirkland told the judge he only called Trautman because he couldn't get hold of Ancona and Aubin. "Your Honor, I haven't been able to contact these dudes - my attorneys. Made efforts to contact them," Kirkland said.  "I tried to put them on my phone list to get their numbers in so I could talk to them.  It was always denied.  When I seen them in court, it was only for a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes during the time here and then they're off.  Other times when I tried to contact them, I sent them letters.  I didn't get a response to my letters. "The only way that I could make contact through them was going through familiar territory where I was at." Nevertheless, Deters called Troutman's actions "reprehensible" and said he would take action against her. “This borders on the most reprehensible conduct I've ever seen an attorney do in all my years of practicing law,” Deters said after the hearing. “This was unconscionable for her to interfere and obstruct in this case and we're going to find out what the remedies are. "I mean, I'm not going to sit back and just let this go by. She clearly was undermining the defense to the point where they can't even represent him anymore? This is a very serious matter.” Deters wasn't finished. He went off on the Ohio Public Defenders Office and state officials who oppose the death penalty.  “We're down in Cincinnati.  We don't pay attention to what goes on in Columbus, and it's my belief that the Ohio Public Defender's Office creates a culture where these attorneys feel enabled to do whatever the heck they want, any means to an end," Deters said.  “Now, we've got 100 jurors waiting and they're being excused because of her behavior.  She slandered two very good defense attorneys with Perry and Norm and she needs to be held accountable.

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