PRESS RELEASE, 5/18/2010

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters comments on Parole Board's recommendation for clemency in the case of Richard Nields


Today the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office received notice from the Adult Parole Authority that the Ohio Parole Board voted four to three to provide a favorable recommendation for clemency to Governor Ted Strickland in the case of Richard Nields. Their recommendation is to commute Nield's death sentence to life 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 the 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.

Nields is currently scheduled to be executed on June 10, 2010.

Prosecutor Deters commented, "The implication of the Parole Board's opinion is that a deliberate murder during an aggravated robbery does not merit the death penalty. This office rejects that notion and suggests that the Parole Board is bound by Ohio law in this regard. They are not free to disregard this judgment of the Ohio legislature as to what crimes are death eligible. In view of the lack of mitigation presented, their decision is unfathomable. For this board, after thirteen years, to second guess jurors and numerous judges is both frustrating and disturbing. I just hope that Governor Strickland will reject this recommendation for clemency and let justice be carried out."