Man convicted of killing Ohio student gets death sentence | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man convicted of killing Ohio student gets death sentence

April 18, 2018 - 3:14 PM

TOLEDO, Ohio - A man convicted nearly three decades ago of abducting a woman riding her bicycle was sentenced to death Wednesday in the 2016 abduction and killing of a college student who was bicycling alone near her home.

A Fulton County judge upheld a jury's death penalty recommendation for James Worley after they convicted him last month in the death of 20-year-old University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin.

She was found dead in a cornfield three days after she was last seen two years ago in July.

Prosecutors used DNA evidence to show that Worley and Joughin were both alongside a rural road where her bicycle was found, inside his barn near Delta, Ohio, and where her body was discovered.

Just before he was sentenced, Worley spent 45 minutes explaining why he couldn't have been the killer and said prosecutors ignored evidence that could have cleared him.

He told prosecutors they should look for another man who was seen in the area the night Joughin disappeared. He also claimed that someone placed his motorcycle helmet at the spot where investigators believe Joughin was abducted.

"Before you judge me harshly think about some of these things," he said. "There will be an appeal process. I just have to pray that I will be vindicated."

Worley began by turning toward where Joughin's family and others were seated in the courtroom and said he was heartbroken for them.

"Her loss is a substantial blow to everyone," he said.

Joughin's family walked out of the courtroom midway through Worley's statement, shortly after he called her "a beautiful girl."

He continued on, saying: "The family isn't taking this well. I can understand."

They later returned to the courtroom for the sentencing and delivered their own statements. Sheila Vaculik said her daughter inspired so many people and would have accomplished great things.

"I could not be more prouder of the person she was," Vaculik said.

She said Worley showed no remorse and pointed out his criminal past.

Since Joughin's killing, her family has lobbied state lawmakers to create a public registry that tracks people convicted of violent crimes. The state Senate earlier this month approved a bill to do just that.

Worley spent three years in prison after he was convicted of knocking a woman off her bike with his truck in 1990, pulling her inside the cab and handcuffing her.

The woman, who managed to escape, testified against Worley at his murder trial in March.


This story has been corrected to show Worley is 59, not 58.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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