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Does Ohio hand down the death penalty for murder?

Under Ohio law, capital punishment via lethal injection remains a possibility for defendants convicted of aggravated murder. However, a recent news report indicates that the death penalty is currently on hold.

Reportedly, it has become hard for Ohio and other states to obtain the drugs required for lethal injections due to pharmaceutical company shortages. In other words, the authorities are not softening their stance against severe felonies like first-degree or aggravated murder.

What constitutes aggravated murder?

First-degree murder is often more about the victims than the acts of defendants, although it also involves elements like intent and advance planning. Savvy prosecutors will work hard to establish these elements because it will strengthen their case.

Examples of victims and aggravating factors that could result in the death penalty include the following.

  • Intentionally killing a child younger than 13
  • Purposely killing an on-duty law enforcement officer
  • Intentionally killing someone while imprisoned or after escaping
  • Purposely killing a pregnant woman or causing the death of an unborn fetus

The death penalty may also be a risk if actions while committing a separate crime cause someone to die. Examples include:

  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Trespassing

A death that arises during the commission of terroristic activity may also be dealt with harshly.

Is capital punishment the only penalty?

No, life imprisonment without parole is another way the state seeks to punish those convicted of aggravated murder. Whichever penalty the court hands down will depend on the unique details of each situation.

As you can see, there is much at stake when charged with serious criminal offenses. It may benefit you to learn more about Ohio felony offenses while also exploring your criminal defense options.