Denny Obermiller, who killed his grandparents and raped his grandmother in August, is ready to face the death penalty. But the three-judge panel that found him guilty still isn’t ready to hand down the ultimate punishment — and Obermiller is losing his patience.
“I don’t like none of you,” Obermiller yelled at Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judges Shirley Strickland Saffold, Timothy McGinty and John Sutula. “I think you’re all idiots. I just said I’m not going to answer any more of your questions. Why are you still asking?”
This phase of capital punishment trials is devoted to defendants explaining all the reasons they should not be executed.
Obermiller has angrily rejected any attempts by his lawyers to save him, and he stared defiantly ahead as the judges took turns rattling off circumstances of Obermiller’s life and childhood that his attorneys could draw upon to show his life is worth preserving.
Obermiller’s father went to prison when he was a young boy! His mother was shot in the head and killed while trying to defuse a domestic dispute between friends. Obermiller passed through the custody of several relatives. He was emotionally abused.
“I have made my decision,” Obermiller responded. “And I’m comfortable with it.”
The judges, who now are deliberating on Obermiller’s sentence, have acted in an abundance of caution in dealing with the case, making it clear at each station that despite Obermiller’s wish to expedite the trial, denying him his rights could lead to an appeal.
Reportedly, Obermiller told psychiatrists during an evaluation that he’d rather be executed than languish in prison for a lifetime.
Obermiller pleaded guilty to 17 counts, including multiple charges of aggravated murder,burglary, attempted aggravated arson, kidnapping, rape, aggravated robbery, aggravated theft and tampering with evidence.
Obermiller’s grandparents, Donald Schneider and Candace Schneider had contacted police on Aug. 10 after they returned home from an out-of-town trip and noticed coins had been taken from their home.
The couple suspected Obermiller, who had spent more than nine years in prison for assault and kidnapping and had been living with them since his release.
The Schneiders were found dead several days later. Candace Schneider was discovered on the floor, handcuffed and without pants. She had been strangled with an electrical cord, and two used condoms lay near her body. Donald Schneider was found face down on a bed upstairs, also handcuffed and strangled with a bed sheet.
Obermiller confessed to the killings after police arrested him in Licking County days later. Obermiller could be sentenced to death or to life in prison with or without parole eligibility.