Ohio death penalty conviction vacated due to court error

Ohio death penalty conviction vacated due to court error

The Ohio Supreme Court has vacated the death penalty conviction of a man who pleaded guilty to killing three women, citing a trial court error.

The state’s high court on Wednesday overturned the aggravated murder conviction of George C. Brinkman, 49, after ruling Wednesday a trial court did not advise him that he was waiving his rights to confront witnesses in the June 2017 slayings by pleading guilty, according to the ruling.

“We therefore vacate Brinkman’s convictions and sentences and remand the cause to the trial court for new proceedings,” justices wrote in a 7-0 ruling.

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Brinkman initially pleaded not guilty to killing Suzanne Taylor, 42, and her two daughters, Taylor Pifer, 21, and Kylie Pifer, 18, in their North Royalton home outside Cleveland.

Brinkman later changed his plea to guilty and a three-judge panel sentenced him to death. But the Cuyahoga County judges failed to read Brinkman a complete list of his constitutional rights, including to force prosecutors

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