Judge again sentences Donna Roberts to death

Donna Roberts, 69, has been re-sentenced to the death penalty for her role in the 2001 murder of her ex-husband, Robert Fingerhut. Roberts and her boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, were convicted of killing Fingerhut in the Howland home Roberts and Fingerhut shared.

Judge Ronald Rice conducted a sentencing hearing Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court as ordered last October by the Ohio Supreme Court, which said the last judge to sentence her, John M. Stuard, failed to consider certain evidence when he re-sentenced Roberts in 2007.

Judge Stuard, who retired at the end of 2012 and died in early February 2013, heard remarks from Roberts during the 2007 resentencing in which she talked about injuries she had suffered and her mental health, but the judge never mentioned those remarks in his sentencing entry, the Supreme Court said.

The supreme court ruling said the judge “failed to consider relevant mitigating evidence” contained in the remarks Roberts made.

She and Jackson were both re-sentenced after Ohio’s 11th District Court of Appeals said Judge Stuard erred in 2002 when he sentenced Roberts and Jackson because he allowed the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office to prepare the sentencing entry without the knowledge of Roberts’ defense team.

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