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Remembering Dawn McCreery and Wendy Offredo


The Cleveland Plain Dealer has this story by Michael McIntyre on Dawn McCreery, Wendy Offredo, and their families. The two college girls were murdered a little over 22 years ago. Richard Cooey has lived longer on death row than Dawn and Wendy's entire lives, but that is scheduled to end tomorrow.

"Yeah, I did kidnappings, robberies and other stuff in my case," Cooey said recently in an interview from death row at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown. "I didn't do no murders in my case. And they know I didn't do the murders in my case."

The "other stuff" was a three-hour ordeal of torture and rape, more than sufficient to make death a just punishment in this case, even if one of Cooey's accomplices committed the actual killings.

According to the Sixth Circuit's ECF system, counsel for Cooey filed 8 appeals on a single day, September 24, and 10 within the space of 8 days. After this is over, this might be a good case to examine for sanctionable misconduct in filing frivolous pleadings. I don't have the actual documents at this point, so I won't make an accusation, but from the sheer volume it seems likely. We need some courts to take a stand that vigorous advocacy does not include burying courts in paper, and, no, death is not different in this respect.

Update: As federalist notes in the comments, the AP reports that the Supreme Court has rejected Cooey's petition.

Update 2 (10/14): There are two cert. denial orders, here and here.


At some point, this nonsense about "actual killer", "triggerman" etc. has to be put to bed. Aside from the fact that if a strict "triggerman" rule is adopted, it creates serious problems of proof in accomplice cases, the bottom line is that the law is not so silly as to limit its inquiry into culpability solely as to who struck the fatal blow. The Indiana Code puts it well:

"A person who knowingly or intentionally aids, induces or causes another to commit an offense commits that offense."

As for felony murder, a person who participates in such a brutal crime should simply not be heard to say that he wasn't culpable if one of his accomplices commits murder.

The US Supreme Court has denied Cooey's appeal. It looks like long overdue justice in this case will finally be served. I hope that the judges in the Sixth Circuit who gave Cooey an illegitimate five extra years are happy with themselves. The twisting of the law to help murderers is not merciful--it's appallingly cruel. Family members didn't ask for some animal to kill their loved one--I think it's high time that federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, recognized that fact. Last-minute stays and additional appeals after a murderer has had a full habeas review should be a very rare exception to the rule. Unfortunately, there are arrogant judges who think nothing of imposing these cruel burdens on family members. They dress up their arrogance in high-sounding phrases and rhetorical flourishes--but, in reality, all it is is a naked will to power.

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