WARREN - For the first time, the United States Supreme Court has issued a written opinion in a Trumbull County case, and it's one that a 78-year-old mother says may finally help her get justice for her murdered son.
"I am relieved and little more optimistic," said Miriam Fife. Her 12-year-old son, Raymond Fife, a boy scout, was murdered in 1985 in Warren. "I am 78-years-old and I am hoping justice is done in a timely matter."
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a federal appeals court to re-examine the case of Danny Lee Hill, a convicted killer, whose death sentence was thrown out after he was found to be mentally disabled.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said he is humbled by the decision.
"The decision of the United States Supreme Court vindicated our position that our state courts properly applied the facts and law to conclude that Danny Hill did not meet the intellectual disability exclusion from the imposition of the death sentence," Watkins said.
In the unsigned opinion, the justices said that the Cincinnati federal appeals court applied the wrong standard when it concluded that Hill should not be executed.
The Supreme Court banned the execution of mentally disabled people in 2002. Judges in Ohio have previously ruled that Hill is not mentally disabled.
The case has been sent back to the federal appeals court. It is not known when the case will be heard.
"This office recognizes and appreciates the tremendous efforts by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office, specifically, State Solicitor Eric Murphy and his staff," Watkins said. "Their exceptional work in this case successfully achieved review by the highest court of the land. Importantly, it has helped this office in our continual quest for justice in this case."