This Morning’s Execution: Brett Hartman, OH

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Editor’s note: There are multiple spellings of Hartman/Hartmann’s last name, with little indication of which one is correct. I’ve chosen to go with what is listed on the Ohio Dept. of Corrections website.

This morning at 10 a.m. ET, Ohio carried out the execution of Brett Hartman, 38, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Winda Snipes in September 1997.

According to a story in The Columbus Dispatch, “Brett Hartman says he had sex with Winda Snipes early on the morning of Sept. 9, 1997, at her Akron apartment. He also says he went back to Snipes’ apartment later that day, found her mutilated body and panicked, trying to clean up the mess before calling 911.

“What Hartman says he didn’t do is kill Snipes, who was stabbed 138 times, had her throat slit and her hands cut off. Numerous courts over the years have rejected Hartman’s claim.”

His version of the case can be found here; a Cleveland Scene article on the issues surrounding his case can be found here.

Letters From Death Row: Brett Hartman

Brett Hartman’s letter to Gawker editor Hamilton Nolan

Hartman’s requests for clemency were rejected three times by the Ohio Parole Board and Ohio governor John Kasich also denied him clemency last week.

Hartman’s last pending appeal was turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court late Monday night. He had asked the court to allow renewed arguments that his trial attorneys were ineffective and did not present evidence that could have persuaded a jury to spare him the death penalty.

Hartman had long proclaimed his innocence, and his attorneys argued that there was evidence from the crime scene that had never been tested, including fingerprints. His attorneys also claimed he should be spared because of his tumultuous childhood, during which he was abandoned by his mother, and because he has been a model prisoner.

“Of course I do not want to die but I am tired and feel they should give me the new trial I deserve or just kill me! I am not interested in anything in between.”

In May, Hamilton Nolan, an editor for Gawker, decided to write to every death row inmate sentenced to die in 2012. Hartman was one of the inmates who replied, and told Nolan about his case, his daily routine and his ideas on the death penalty in the U.S.

“Of course I do not want to die but I am tired and feel they should give me the new trial I deserve or just kill me! I am not interested in anything in between,” Hartman wrote.

“Something broke in me after surviving my last date.”

Hartman survived two previous executions dates. The first was in 2009 and was stayed by federal courts to allow him to pursue a claim of innocence. The second was in 2011, but it was put off due to a federal lawsuit over the state’s execution procedures.

Hartman arrived at the state’s death house Monday morning and was described by prison spokesperson JoEllen Smith as ‘calm and cooperative.’ According to a local news source, prison staffers checked his veins twice on Monday to make certain they were accessible for Tuesday’s execution and Hartman took two doses of an anti-anxiety drug Monday shortly after 12 p.m.

He was served his last meal after his visiting hours concluded on Monday. His meal included steak with sautéed mushrooms, fried shrimp, macaroni and cheese, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, vanilla ice cream with nuts, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Honey Comb cereal with milk.

He also took time Monday night to do a 25-minute phone interview with a Beacon Journal reporter. From that story:

“It’s the road I got to walk,” he said. “It’s my time. It’s hard, especially for my family. But it’s not overwhelming for me. I’ve just never had any luck.”

He said he had no desire to spend the rest of his life in prison and was hoping to win a second trial and secure additional DNA testing. He said his family knows he is innocent, and he hopes the search for Snipes’ true killer continues.

“I think we’re lucky on death row because we have an out,” Hartmann said. “It’s a harsh structure in prison, but at least we’re not in for 50 to 60 years. Death row is its own little enigma. We are in our own little world.

“But being locked up and away from family, it’s tough. I’m tired of fighting and no one listening. I’m tired of begging for money [and tired] of prison. So, there’s some relief.”

This morning he declined breakfast and spent his morning hours visiting with an aunt, a sister and a friend.

Hartman was executed at 10:34 a.m. Before, he smiled at his sister Diane Morretti, who witnessed the execution. He also addressed Warden Donald Morgan a few minutes into the procedure, telling him “this is not going to defeat me,” according to the Associated Press.

Related Reading:

Death Row Inmate Brett Hartmann Says He Can Prove His Innocence, if the Governor Will Just Give Him a Little More Time

Ohio Prepares to Execute Convicted Killer

Brett Hartman’s personal website

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Appeal for OH Killer

Hartman Execution: The Special Meal Featured

Letters From Death Row: Brett Hartmann, Ohio Inmate 357-869

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