Parole board should give Watkins benefit of doubt
There are two despicable characters from Trumbull County behind bars because of their evil acts of violence against children. They deserve to remain in prison until they are too old to commit any other crimes against humanity.
The Ohio Parole Board, which is scheduled to meet in September to consider parole for David Lockney and Martin A. Petersime, should let veteran Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins have the final word.
Watkins, who has handled the most heart-wrenching cases during his long tenure as prosecutor, is adamantly opposed to Lockney and Petersime getting out of prison early.
He offers very compelling arguments for why these soulless men should not be placed back in society any time soon.
The Ohio Parole Board must take into consideration the crimes they committed in determining whether parole is justified.
The case against Lockney should be nothing less than a slam-dunk. The 63-year-old Lordstown resident was sentenced to four life-prison terms for four rapes and attempted rape in 1987 and has served 32 years so far.
Lockney was eligible for parole in 2002, 2011 and 2015 and is up for consideration next month.
There is absolutely no justification for returning him to society.
In writing about this latest parole hearing, Vindicator Reporter Ed Runyan referred to the 2015 letter Watkins wrote to the parole board in which the prosecutor laid out in blood-curdling detail the rape of a child.
“What Lockney did repeatedly to [the victim] and the sheer magnitude of the intentional violence on her little body parts was so horrific that words cannot serve to give a true explanation of the pain and suffering [she] endured. Imagine a 7-year-old child being repeatedly raped by her father; and then, when very ill from the injuries her little body received during the rapes, the same father denied her medical treatment. He just let her suffer.”
There are photographs and medical records that show the extent of the injuries and the suffering the little girl endured.
In 2002, the victim attended the parole board hearing and very clearly expressed fear for herself and other children if her father were released. The victim is willing to testify at next month’s hearing, if necessary.
“Lockney is the worst form of a pedophile because of his willingness to cause serious pain, injury and suffering,” Watkins said.
This case cried out for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, but in 1987 when the crimes were committed the law did not provide for such punishment.
“The maximum penalty for what he did today would mean no parole for life,” the Trumbull County prosecutor said. “Hopefully all the new parole board members will agree after reading all of the materials in this case and realize how horrific Lockney’s crimes were just as prior boards did when denying Lockney’s parole in the past.”
Petersime, former owner of Warren Music Center on High Street, was convicted in 1992 of 20 felony sex offenses involving six children. Among them were two convictions for raping boys 11 and 12 years old.
The 65-year-old well-known Warren resident gave drugs to children to facilitate sex with them, had group sex with them, produced pornographic films with them and himself and other types of sexual deviancy, according to Watkins.
The prosecutor described the former music teacher as the “consummate child predator lurking among us.”
Petersime has served 26 Ω years of a sentence of 12-40 years, and is housed in the Grafton Correctional Institution.
The last time he was eligible for parole was in 2014, and Watkins succeeded in persuading the board the child predator was not deserving of a break.
“This man has done it all and more,” the county prosecutor said in a recent letter to the board.
Behavior in prison is also a factor in deciding on parole, and Watkins pointed out that Petersime violated prison rules when he yelled at Ashland University students participating in an outreach program at the prison where the child rapist was housed. The yelling was over a computer, and the students said they “felt threatened” by the inmate.
Watkins believes the child predator should be kept behind bars for 15 more years when he will be 80. At that age, he will be less likely to prey on other children.
We urge the Ohio Parole Board to study Petersime’s case file closely and consider the lives he has ruined by his evil-doing.
For those parole board members who aren’t familiar with Watkins, we would note that in all the years we have dealt with the county prosecutor we have never known him to grandstand. His word has always been his bond, and his respect for the law is unwavering.