POMEROY — The latest appeal by convicted murderess Paula Rizer has been denied in Meigs County Common Pleas Court.
In a decision filed July 24, Judge Dale Crawford, sitting by assignment, denied the petition for post-conviction relief filed by Rizer.
Rizer was convicted of murder in the shooting death of her husband, Kenneth Rizer, Sr. at the couple’s home on Lovett Road near Portland.
Rizer was charged with aggravated murder in the death and was convicted of murder during her second jury trial in January 2010. Rizer was acquitted on the aggravated murder charge in late 2009, with the jury deadlocked on the murder charge (11-1 in favor of guilt).
Oral arguments on the appeal were heard in April, with attorneys for both sides submitting briefs following the oral arguments.
During the hearing, the defense called witnesses to speak on the lack of objection to statements made by Dr. Robert Stinson.
Rizer was represented by Diane Menashe for the hearing, while special prosecutor (former Meigs County Assistant Prosecutor) Matthew Donohue and assistant prosecutor Amanda Bizub-Franzmann represented the state.
Kort Gotterdam, an expert in the field of criminal defense, and Rizer’s former lead counsel Herman Carson, Jr. testified at the hearing.
The decision filed last week states that the defendant filed the petition for post-conviction relief asserting the defendant’s counsel was ineffective in not objecting to the testimony of Dr. Robert Stinson who opined that, because of the many inconsistencies in the defendant’s statements, that she was not suffering from battered wife syndrome at the time she killed her husband.
An amended petition filed stated that there was a sixth amendment violation in addition to the fifth amendment violation initially raised in the appeal.
The claim regarding the “faulty” instruction to the jury had been withdrawn according to the decision.
Crawford’s decision states, “it is clear for the record that the issue of ineffective counsel on the sixth and 14th amendment grounds, was raised on appeal and dealt with by the court of appeals.”
The decision went on to read:
Even if some of Dr. Stinson’s testimony was objectionable and a failure to object could be determined to fall below an objective level of reasonable representation, defendant has failed to prove that second element of the Strickland test. That being, that the failure to object prejudiced the defense so as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial. The defendant must prove that but for the defective performance, the result would have been different.
The jury heard police investigators testify that the defendant made inconsistent statements; they heard the defendant admit she made inconsistent statements; they heard the defendant’s expert witness, Dr. Fisher, testify there were inconsistent statements; how can the defendant show that there was prejudice in Dr. Stinson testifying that there were inconsistent statements.
The Defendant has failed to prove to this court that the defendant’s counsel was deficient and failed to prove to this court that if counsel was deficient, such deficiency prejudiced defendant.
The Supreme Court of Ohio denied hearing Rizer’s first appeal in the case.