COLUMBUS (WCMH) — There are questions about whether the death penalty should be a possibility for the man charged with killing two Westerville police officers.
Defense attorneys for Quentin Smith and prosecutors met Friday for a hearing in which they discussed 39 pretrial motions with Judge Richard Frye. During the trial, Smith sat in the courtroom, handcuffed until the judge told deputies to remove his restraints.
One of the motions discussed was whether Smith’s case should be a capital case, following a recent federal court ruling on Ohio’s execution protocol and an order from Governor Mike DeWine halting executions for the time being.
The defense argued the death penalty shouldn’t be on the table, given the recent developments, but prosecutors disagreed.
“The method can and probably will change from the time a jury in this case, if they would recommend to the court and the court impose a death sentence,” said Ron O’Brien, Franklin County Prosecutor. “The protocol might change a dozen times in the meantime as things go forward.”
The issue wasn’t resolved Friday and will be discussed at the next hearing in April.
Prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge also discussed other issues, including whether Smith would wear restraints at trial. A deputy spoke up to tell the judge he believed Smith should wear restraints, given the nature of the charges against him. Eventually, the attorneys and judges agreed Smith would wear only leg irons and no handcuffs.
Jury selection for Smith’s trial is set to begin in October.