Convicted killer pushes for shorter sentence in murder of Mary Jo Pesho

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found a killer is fighting for a cut in his sentence in one of Northeast Ohio’s most notorious cases: the murder of Mary Jo Pesho.

Twenty-four years ago, two young men kidnapped Mary Jo Pesho outside the old Parmatown Mall and killed her. Investigators ultimately charged Mark DiMarco and Shannon Kidd. Both were convicted.

DiMarco took his own life in prison. Now, we uncovered court records showing Kidd is trying to appeal for the first time.

“A lot of lives were destroyed that day. He knew what he was doing then,” said Ray Pesho, the victim’s husband. “He got caught. He should pay for his crime. Forty years. Just playing a game now.”

Back in 1998, Kidd struck a plea deal. He testified against the other guy and he ended up getting sent to prison for 40 years-to life. But, Kidd has signed an affidavit claiming, “I thought I had been sentenced to 20 years-to life per the discussions I had with the prosecutors.”

Shannon Kidd

The new filing said Kidd was sentenced under the wrong law.

At the Cuyahoga County Justice Center, the I-Team dug up the plea agreement for Kidd. In the four pages, it outlines the time he could get in prison and he signed it.

But now, lawyers argue he never read the agreement. They said he was just a teen and he relied on what he was told by “the adults in the room.”

FOX 8 video from 1998 shows an assistant county prosecutor saying, “I’d call him a killer. That’s what he is.”

“The State Public Defender’s Office should be ashamed of themselves for filing this frivolous motion on behalf of this barbaric killer. This will only cause more pain and trauma to the family of Mary Jo Pesho,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, in a statement.

Meantime, he Office of the Ohio Public Defender sent a statement, saying, “Shannon was sentenced under the wrong law. We are working to get him sentenced under the correct law. Shannon is not asking to vacate his conviction; he is only seeking an opportunity to be sentenced under the correct law.”

The Pesho family is standing strong and feels grateful for decades of support from the community.
“I can’t thank people enough,” Ray Pesho said. “Just want everybody to know that we’re doing good.”

The push by Kidd comes so long after the case, defense lawyers asked for permission from the court to file a “delayed appeal.”

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