Parole Board Rejects Mercy for Killer of Toledo Store Owner

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The Ohio Parole Board has rejected mercy for a death row inmate who shot and killed a Toledo convenience store owner in 1993.

In a 5-2 vote announced Friday, the board ruled against a clemency recommendation for 37-year-old Vernon Smith, who is scheduled to be executed Jan. 7.

The board’s majority said that Smith has not shown significant remorse.

The killing occurred as Smith was robbing the Woodstock Market. He shot store owner Sohail Darwish as the victim was reaching for his wallet. The board said that Darwish was compliant with Smith’s demands and offered no resistance, making the murder even more aggravating.

Smith didn’t testify at the clemency hearing. His lawyers told the parole board that Smith grew up without a father figure and mother who was frequently absent.

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