CLEVELAND — Attorneys for an Elyria man facing execution for the 1994 murder of a drug informant are asking that he be given a new trial, based in part on information they gleaned from reviewing Elyria police files on the case.
Gregory Meyers, an attorney with the Office of Ohio Public Defender, said the review of the information from Elyria police and county prosecutors showed several areas of concern, including whether law enforcement bought testimony from witnesses in exchange for helping with criminal charges.
Stanley Jalowiec, 36, has been on death row since 1996, after being convicted in the slaying of Ronald Lally, whose body was found in Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland. Lally had been scheduled to testify against Daniel Smith and his father, Raymond Smith, in a drug case.
Lally, 30, was shot in the face, cut with a knife, beaten and run over by a car.
Daniel Smith later was cleared of involvement in the murder by a jury, but Raymond Smith and Jalowiec were convicted and sentenced to death.
Attorneys for Raymond Smith are arguing that he is mentally handicapped and should not be subject to the death penalty, but a county judge has yet to rule on the motion.
Meyers said former Assistant County Prosecutor Jonathan Rosenbaum and former Elyria police Detective Al Leiby both used their influence to help witnesses who testified against Jalowiec and the others, including Michael Smith, who testified he was in the car when the murder occurred, but had no knowledge of what was going to happen and hid in the back seat while the killing took place.
Also given a free pass by authorities, Meyers said, was Corrine “Queen Bee” Fike, whose car was the car used to drive Lally from Lorain County to Cleveland.
Fike was given a letter by Rosenbaum that gave her immunity in exchange for her testimony.
That information never was disclosed to defense attorneys, Meyers said, because Rosenbaum claimed it was never binding.
“She wanted immunity,” he said. “It induced her cooperation; it led to her testifying.”
Leiby, Meyers said, promised to use his influence to help the boyfriend and
husband of two other witnesses in the case who were facing criminal charges. Although in one case, Meyers said, Leiby went back on his word, the prosecution still said because neither woman had received anything in exchange for their testimony, they were both credible.
Calls to attorneys working the case for the Ohio Attorney General’s Capital Crimes Section, which is handling the opposition to Jalowiec’s appeals, were not returned Wednesday. County Prosecutor Dennis Will also did not return a call seeking comment.
In the past and in court documents, the state has contended that Jalowiec’s attorneys are on what amounts to a “fishing expedition” and there was nothing improper about not passing along all of the information to the defense team in the original trial.
But Meyers said Jalowiec is entitled to a new, fair trial with all the evidence being presented, particularly since Daniel Smith, the alleged mastermind of the murder, was cleared with almost exactly the same evidence.
“There are significant differences, at least significant differences enough, between the cards the state played in the cases of Danny, Ray and Stan,” Meyers said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.