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News Scan

Death Sentence Upheld for Double-Murderer: A divided Ohio Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a Cincinnati man convicted of murdering two teenage girls in 2010.  WLWT 5 reports that Anthony Kirkland was convicted of aggravated murder and attempted rape for the killings of a 14-year-old girl in 2006 and a 13-year-old girl in 2009, prior to trial, Kirkland pled guilty to two additional murders he had committed and was given two life sentences.  Kirkland was appealing his death sentence amid claims that statements made by the prosecutor during the sentencing phase of his trial pressured jurors into returning a death sentence.

Thousands of Criminals Freed While Awaiting Deportation: A report released on Monday by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based advocacy group, has revealed that the Obama administration has released thousands of convicted criminals while they were awaiting deportation proceedings.  Fox News reports that in 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  released more than 36,000 "convicted criminal aliens" who represented a total of 88,000 convictions.  While most of the convictions were for lower-level or non-violent offenses, a large number were much more serious in nature including 193 homicides, 426 sexual assaults, and 303 kidnappings.  ICE has responded to the report, and said that many of the criminals were released under restrictions like GPS monitoring and supervision.

Convicted Mass Murderer Appeals Death Sentence: A Pennsylvania man convicted and sentenced to death for murdering four people in 2010 is appealing his sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the verdict slip presented to jurors was unfairly written.  Riley Yates of The Morning Call reports that 40-year-old Michael Ballard, who had been on parole at the time of the murders for a previous killing, brutally stabbed to death his former girlfriend and two members of her family as well as a neighbor tried to help.  Ballard pled guilty to all four charges of first-degree murder, but believes jurors should have been made aware of his alleged brain damage and abusive childhood prior to sentencing.

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