Former crip gangbanger Sidney Cornwell, who murdered 3-year-old Jessica Ballew in a 1996 Youngstown OH shootout, has had his death sentence mitigated to life imprisonment reportedly because he suffered teasing as a child due to a speech impediment and large breasts he developed as a result of Klinefelter Syndrome — a previously undiagnosed medical condition caused by the presence of an extra X-chromosome.
Ohio’s governor, Ted Strickland, whom made the ruling against the recommendation of the State Parole Board, believed that Cornwell’s jurors may have opted for a lighter sentence had they known about the gunman’s upbringing, during which he was also abused by his father before turning to gangs for safety as a teenager.
Said County Prosecutor, Paul Gains: ‘Although I disagree with the governor’s decision, I respect his right to make that decision.’ Cornewell, who was to face lethal injection Tuesday, will be the third, and last, death row inmate to be given mercy by Strickland, whose tenure ends Feb.17 2012 when he’ll be replaced by Republican John Kasich.
Which, of course brings about quite the odd contradiction: while Cornwell was spared his life because of his childhood upbringing his victim was deprived of hers . Doesn’t such a ruling more or less affirm that one ruined childhood could well be enough to justify destroying yet another?
While had the death penalty been enacted it would have only served to compound the tragedy, doesn’t the nature of Cornwell’s redemption make the entire situation all the more heart-rending? What a strange power to have over lives and other men.