Convicted of murder in 1986, Toledo killer on death row is fighting for a new trial

Convicted of murder in 1986, Toledo killer on death row is fighting for a new trial
William Montgomery in court in 1986 (Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - William Montgomery has been sitting on Ohio's death row for 31 years after being convicted in Lucas County Common Pleas Court of committing two murders.

To this day, Montgomery maintains his innocence.

This week Montgomery finds out if he lives or dies.

Montgomery's case was the focus Sunday of a public forum to discuss the death penalty in Ohio.

The group Toledoans for Prison Awareness is fighting to end executions in the state.

"To me, it's a matter of fairness and seeing some people can change over time and can be rehabilitated," said Jim Prager.

Montgomery was found guilty of killing Debra Ogle and Cynthia Tincher in 1986.

For the Ogle case, Montgomery was sentenced to death.

This Thursday he goes before the Ohio Parole Board asking for clemency and a new trial.

Montgomery claims evidence withheld from his defense team at trial raises serious doubts about his guilt.

"I think it's more likely the parole board, if they have an open mind and look at all the facts of this case, there's too many inconsistencies, too many pieces of withheld evidence," said Kevin Werner, Executive Director of Ohioans to Stop Executions.

Also at the forum was Joe D'Ambrosio of Cleveland.

He sat on death row for 22 years for a murder he didn't commit.

He walked out a free man after the real killer stepped forward and confessed.

"They cannot release you from the grave and it's bad. When there's a chance that an innocent person dies for something they didn't do we shouldn't be doing it at all," said D'Ambrosio.

That's why William Montgomery's hearing is a life or death situation.

If he's denied clemency, Montgomery is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 11th.

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