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Ohio Parole Board Rejects Clemency For Killer Claiming Abuse, Mental Illness

obert Van Hook

The Ohio Parole Board has voted 8-1 to recommend that Gov. John Kasich deny clemency to a Cincinnati killer who’s set to be executed on July 18.

Fifty eight-year-old Robert Van Hook was convicted of stabbing David Self to death after picking him up in a Cincinnati bar in 1985.

Van Hook’s public defenders say he has confessed, accepted responsibility and expressed remorse. But they said execution isn’t appropriate because of the severe emotional and physical abuse he suffered as a child, which they said Van Hook’s first defense team didn’t fully explore.

One member of the parole board agreed, and suggested his mental illness and military service should be taken into consideration.

Van Hook said he experienced a "homosexual panic" of self-revulsion before killing a man he picked up at a bar more than 30 years ago.

Prosecutors say the murder was one of the most brutal and bizarre ever in Hamilton County. And they say Van Hook’s behavior suggests he’s not remorseful, noting his long history of violence behind bars, including stabbing a fellow death row inmate last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.