Process to begin Odraye Jones' resentencing starts Friday

Jan. 25—JEFFERSON — An Ohio prison inmate who has spent 25 years on death row in the murder of an Ashtabula police officer will begin the process of a new sentencing hearing Friday in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court.

Odraye G. Jones shot and killed Ashtabula Police Officer William D. Glover Jr. on Nov. 17, 1997. A jury convicted him of fatally shooting Glover at close range and recommended the death sentence.

Jones, now 46, had his death sentence revoked last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. A panel of three judges decided Jones' sentence was tainted with racism at the penalty phase of his trial. The decision allowed for Jones to be granted a new sentencing hearing.

Police will transfer Jones from the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown to the Ashtabula County jail, where he will remain until the completion of his re-sentencing trial, according to court records.

A status conference is slated for 1:30 p.m. Friday before Common Pleas Court Judge David Schroder.

Sheriff William Niemi would not say when Jones would be arriving in Jefferson, citing security reasons.

Ashtabula County Prosecutor Colleen O'Toole said three defense attorneys will represent Jones, who has changed his name to Malik Allah U Akbar while in prison.

According to court records, Jones has requested that he represent himself.

On Monday, the defense counsels filed a motion to determine competence of Jones to represent himself, and a memorandum concerning his competency to stand trial.

The new sentencing trial came about after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District judges reviewed the case and took notice of testimony from a clinical psychologist, who diagnosed Jones with antisocial personality disorder.

The psychologist then testified that Black men with this disorder would commit more murders. He said about one in four "African-American urban males" suffered from the disorder, and the only treatment for them was to "throw them away, lock them up," according to Judge Richard Allen Griffin, one of three on the panel.

After hearing this testimony, the Ashtabula County jury recommended the death penalty. The court accepted the recommendation and sentenced Jones to death. He's been incarcerated on death row ever since.

Judge Griffin argued that Jones' lawyers should have challenged the racist theory and inadequately represented their client's best interest by not doing so and "Jones is entitled to a new sentencing."

The judges did uphold the ruling that Jones murdered Glover on Nov. 17, 1997, in Ashtabula, shooting him with hollow-point bullets.

Glover's widow, Marianne Glover Waldman, who now lives in Canada, has said she plans to return to Ashtabula County for the new sentencing hearing.