Tafts Say No To Witnessing Execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gov. Bob Taft and wife, Hope, declined an invitation by convicted child-killer Robert Buell to witness his execution, scheduled next week.

"I just don't think the governor thinks that's an appropriate thing for him to do," Taft spokeswoman Mary Anne Sharkey said Wednesday.

Taft (pictured, above) is considering a clemency request by Buell and was expected to announce a decision on Thursday or Friday. The Ohio Parole Board recommended unanimously on Monday that he reject it.

Michael Benza of Cleveland, one of Buell's attorneys, was critical of the governor's decision not to attend the execution scheduled Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville.

Taft "does not have time to come down and witness his handiwork," Benza said on a radio talk show Wednesday. "Here is the governor who holds Buell's fate in his hands."

Buell, 62, is to die by lethal injection for the July 1982 murder of 11-year-old Krista Lea Harrison of Marshallville in Wayne County.

Prison officials said Buell isn't inviting any other witnesses to his execution.

Krista's father, Gerald, and her brother, Dana, will be there, along with Wayne County Prosecutor Martin Frantz.

Buell, a former Akron city planner from Clinton, is also serving a minimum sentence of 121 years for the abduction and rape of two women. One of those crimes led to Buell's arrest in the Harrison case.

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