It could be almost 17 years before Christopher Whitaker is put to death: Here's why

It could be almost 17 years before Christopher Whitaker is put to death: Here's why
Christopher Whitaker was sentenced to death. (Source: WOIO)

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Monday in Cuyahoga County Court Christopher Whitaker was sentenced to death for the kidnap, rape and murder of 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze who was snatched while walking to school in 2017.

But do you know what happens next?

To get answers we went to the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office.

First the prisoner, in this case Whitaker, becomes the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC).

Work will now begin to transfer Whitaker from the Cuyahoga County Jail to the Chillicothe Correctional Institution where all of Ohio's 137 death row inmates are housed, separate from the general population of that prison.

According to the Ohio AG's office, Whitaker will not be executed anytime soon.

"Based on the death row inmates who have been executed under Ohio's current law, the average length of time on death row before execution is 16.91 years," it said in an email from DeWine's office.

The reason is because of the appeals process, and there are several kinds of appeals that can be filed.

"The defendant must file their notice of appeal within 30 days from the day the sentence entry is filed with the clerk of courts," the AG's office said. "In Ohio, there is an automatic appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court regardless of whether the defendant wants to appeal or not."

In a few cases prisoners have waived their rights to appeals.

"The remainder of the appeals can be waived, assuming the inmate is competent to waive those appeals. There is not a minimum or maximum time before an execution may be carried out," according to the AG's office.

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