Court Upholds Inmate's Death Sentence

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously upheld the death sentence of a prisoner at the Mansfield Correctional Institution convicted of aggravated murder in the 1997 stabbing of a fellow inmate.

August Cassano, 48, failed to prove that the trial court improperly disallowed his opportunity to represent himself, justices said. The ruling also said the trial court did not err by allowing prosecutors to submit evidence that Cassano had stabbed another inmate in 1992.

Cassano, serving a life sentence for the 1976 slaying of a Summit County bartender, stabbed inmate Walter Hardy about 76 times on Oct. 21, 1997, according to court records. Cassano had complained to prison officials that Hardy was a snitch.

In his appeal, Cassano raised 14 points of law.

"We have reviewed each and determined that none justifies reversal of Cassano's conviction or death sentence," Justice Paul Pfeifer wrote in the opinion.

Cassano has attempted suicide at least three times while on death row, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)