September 23, 2014

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Hitchhiker who shot driver denied clemency; execution next month

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Parole Board has denied a request for mercy from a death row inmate who fatally shot a man while hitchhiking almost three decades ago.

The board ruled unanimously Wednesday against clemency for condemned killer Michael Beuke, who is scheduled to die next month.

The board said the seriousness of the crimes outweighed Beuke’s positive behavior and religious conversion in prison.

Lawyers and friends of Beuke told the parole board that he is deeply remorseful over his crime and has devoted his life to helping other inmates.

The 48-year-old Beuke was sentenced to die for the 1983 murder of Robert Craig, a driver he shot while hitchhiking in southwest Ohio.

Craig’s widow had pleaded with the board to deny clemency.