Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters comments on Governor Strickland's decision in Richard Nields case

Today, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced his decision regarding the clemency application filed by Richard Nields. Governor Strickland commuted Nields death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Nields was convicted in 1997 for the Aggravated Murder of his long-time girlfriend Patricia Newsome. Ms. Newsome was a successful Cincinnati real estate agent who had befriended the alcoholic Nields in the 1980's. During their long acquaintance, the couple sometimes lived together and traveled together with Ms. Newsome supporting Nields. Testimony at Nields' trial indicated that Ms. Newsome consistently encouraged Nields to quit drinking. She finally decided to end their relationship when she became concerned for her safety after it became apparent that Nields would not quit drinking. Upset over her decision to end their relationship, Nields beat and strangled her to death over a period of time. After committing the murder, he stole her money and car and went out drinking.

Nields was found guilty of Ms. Newsome's murder by a Hamilton County jury. The jury recommended the death sentence. Hamilton County Judge Thomas Nurre followed the jury's recommendation and sentenced Nields to death.

The Hamilton County jury's verdict and the judge's death sentence have been upheld throughout Nields numerous appeals in both state and federal court.

Prosecutor Deters commented on Governor Strickland's decision today, "I am disappointed in the governor's decision. However, he is fully within his authority to grant this."