Death penalty specification dropped in murder suspect's trial - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Death penalty specification dropped in murder suspect's trial

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Cameo Pettaway Cameo Pettaway

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - One of the men accused of killing a couple in Springfield Township learned whether he could face the death penalty Tuesday. The decision came as the trials of Cameo Pettaway and Samuel Williams got under way.

The death penalty specification has been dropped for Cameo Pettaway, 23. Judge James Bates decided Pettaway did not meet the state's standards because of mental issues. By law, individuals who are mentally challenged cannot face the death penalty.

"While this is a very difficult decision for the court because of the nature of this case, it was a relatively easy decision based on the evidence presented during the course of the trial," said Bates.

Pettaway still faces life in prison if convicted.

Jury selection is now under way in the separate trials of Pettaway and Samuel Williams, 24. Opening statements in both trials are expected to happen Monday with testimony taking place next week.

Pettaway and Williams each face two counts of aggravated murder in the asphyxiation deaths of Lisa Straub and Johnny Clarke back in January 2011. The couple was found inside the home of Straub's parents with their hands bound with duct tape and heads covered with bags.

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