Convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland returns to court as part of resentencing process

Hearing ahead of resentencing for convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland appeared in a Hamilton County courtroom to try to get his death sentence overturned.

Kirkland was given a death sentence for the murders of 14-year-old Casonya Crawford in 2006 and the 2009 killing of 13-year-old SCPA student Esme Kenney. Before his trial began, he pleaded guilty to killing two other women. He had previously served a 16-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.

In May of 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court said Kirkland should get a new sentencing hearing. The decision stems from a Florida court ruling that changed some of the sentencing procedures.

Now, Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier says they'll have to basically put on a new trial, even though the guilty verdict isn't in question. He says the new jury will have to know what Kirkland did to weigh it against any mitigating factors the defense will present.

Piepmeier says it's terrible the victims' families will have to go through this again. "This guy is evil in capital letters. He's just a horrible human being and there's just nothing good about him."

During the hearing, Judge Charles Kubicki disqualified himself at the prosecution's request. Piepmeier expressed concern that since Judge Kubicki had already sentenced Kirkland to death once, a second death sentence could open the case up to appeal. However, a new jury could sentence Kirkland to life in prison.

Kirkland also agreed to one of his attorneys request to leave his case because he has too many other capital cases. Norm Aubin will remain and another attorney will join him.

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