Ohio Bill Would Spare Severely Mentally Ill from Execution

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A person judged to suffer from severe mental illness at the time of a killing that could result in a death sentence would be spared from capital punishment under a bill before Ohio lawmakers.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee was scheduled to hear further testimony on the bill Wednesday.

The proposed legislation would allow a hearing before trial on an offender’s mental illness and permit a judge to rule out the death penalty if severe mental illness is proven. Current death row inmates also could challenge their sentences on the basis of mental illness at the time of their crimes.

Offenders still would face life in prison even if they’re judged to have a severe mental illness.

Diagnosed illnesses could include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.